Riot Games

It's been a real wild ride for Riot Games, the studio responsible for creating League of Legends. Sadly, this seems to be one ride that is far from over. Employees are now considering a walkout after Riot Games took steps to prevent employees from taking legal action against the company.

Riot Games had moved to prevent further lawsuits against the company after multiple lawsuits were filed following Kotaku's recent investigation into the studio's sexist culture. At least two separate sources told Waypoint that employees are talking about walking out as a result of these new, aggressive actions. These sources, though anonymous, are both reportedly current employees at the studio.

"Talk of a walkout has been brewing among a number of folks with varying levels of investment since Kotaku’s first article hit,” said one source, “and leadership consistently promised transparency/actions to be taken and then did not deliver on that promise."
Angela Roseboro, Riot's chief diversity officer, did issue a response to these walkout talks. A response to the walkout threat was addressed by Angela Roseboro, Riot's chief diversity officer. Roseboro's remarks come from an internal Slack message sent to employees over the weekend. These comments were also shared with Waypoint by their anonymous sources.

"We're also aware there may be an upcoming walkout and recognize some Rioters are not feeling heard. We want to open up a dialogue on Monday and invite Rioters to join us for small group sessions where we can talk through your concerns, and provide as much context as we can about where we’ve landed and why. If you’re interested, please take a moment to add your name to this spreadsheet. We’re planning to keep these sessions smaller so we can have a more candid dialogue.”
Roseboro has gone on record as saying that Riot intends to resolve employee lawsuits via private arbitration. However, this could leave people feeling "like we're not moving forward." This lack of transparency is one of the catalysts to employees leaning towards the walkout.

"When Angela Roseboro offered to schedule focus sessions with people,” said one employee, “there was backlash because people were frustrated at yet another example of closed-door discussions instead of transparency. Overall, I think Rioters are sick of feeling like they have no visibility into what leadership is actually doing to improve."
Being transparent and open with their employees is just one thing the Riot employees are taking issue with. The biggest issue right now is the fact that Riot COO Scott Gelb is still employed at the studio. According to Kotaku's initial investigation, Gelb "ball tapped, farted on, or humped employees." The only punishment dished out to Gelb was a two-month unpaid suspension and training.

Riot trying to supress employee concerns and stifle lawsuits are just the tip of the iceberg as far as employee rights are concerned. This, along with recent reports of dangerous crunch at studios like NetherRealm, Epic Games, and many others, should tell the entire industry that developers need to unionize.

A full copy of Roseboro's Slack message sent this past weekend can be found below.

"Hi Rioters, I’ve been off campus for most of yesterday afternoon in meetings and have spent my evening reviewing and absorbing everything you’ve shared. I feel it’s important to address your concerns this morning rather than wait until Monday.

I know yesterday’s article about Riot’s motion to compel arbitration feels like we’re not moving forward. And I have to say for me, it demonstrates we still have work to do. There are pros, cons, and nuances to the discussion of arbitration, especially given the active litigation against Riot. It can be complex so these types of topics are best discussed live where it’s easier to have a conversation. I encourage all of you to ask as many questions in this Thursday’s Unplugged, and our promise to you is we will be as transparent as we possibly can.

We’re also aware there may be an upcoming walkout and recognize some Rioters are not feeling heard. We want to open up a dialogue on Monday and invite Rioters to join us for small group sessions where we can talk through your concerns, and provide as much context as we can about where we’ve landed and why. If you’re interested, please take a moment to add your name to this spreadsheet. We’re planning to keep these sessions smaller so we can have a more candid dialogue.

We are committed to re-earning your trust by having an open and transparent dialogue, and doing the right thing by all of our Rioters. Personally I completely understand how this may feel like a setback, but my hope is that through this storm we will be a better version of ourselves. Hope to see you on Monday."