Riot Games, a powerhouse in the gaming and esports industry, recently faced a significant setback. According to Kotaku, the company had ambitious plans to launch its own streaming platform for esports content from League of Legends, VALORANT, TFT, and Wild Rift. However, following the layoff of 530 employees, these plans have been shelved.
The Impact of Layoffs on Riot’s Vision
Riot Games is more than just a gaming company; it’s a global entity with projects spanning from blockbuster games to hit series like Arcane. The company, often regarded as possibly the number one in esports, has now had to reconsider its path forward in the wake of these substantial layoffs.
The Ambition Behind Riot Esports Network
The concept behind the Riot Esports Network, or REN, was to internally stream esports content directly from the Riot launcher. This move aimed to centralize hundreds of thousands of viewers and retain all revenue from advertising and analytics.
League of Legends’ Twitch Success in 2023
League of Legends’ esports events, especially Worlds, have consistently been one of Twitch’s most-viewed categories. In 2023, Worlds hit peak viewership of 6.4 million and an average of 1.2 million viewers, with over 146 million hours watched.
REN’s Unique Features
REN was set to offer custom drops for viewing competitions, similar to the rewards for watching tournaments like MSI or Worlds on lolesports.com. Riot had even begun testing the platform before its cancellation.
Future Possibilities for Riot’s Streaming Aspirations
Despite the project’s suspension due to the layoffs and employee restructuring, the possibility of Riot revisiting this concept in the future remains. For now, the focus seems to have shifted to consolidating their existing operations.