Skip to main content

Riot Games addresses industry burnout and crunch by giving employees a week off

Riot Games addresses industry burnout and crunch by giving employees a week off

/

The studio has recently expanded beyond League of Legends

Share this story

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends and Valorant, will be giving employees the week of August 10th off to “disconnect, recharge, and reboot,” the studio announced in a blog post published Tuesday.

Riot has recently expanded beyond its global smash hit League of Legends, including releasing auto battler Teamfight Tactics, Hearthstone-like card game Legends of Runeterra (which are both set in the League of Legends universe), and Valorant, a brand-new tactical shooter that takes cues from Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch. But in an industry known for overwork and enforced overtime, referred to as “crunch,” to ship and maintain games, Riot is giving employees a break to help with their health.

“As game developers, we’re all hyper aware of the effects of crunch”

“As game developers, we’re all hyper aware of the effects of crunch and project-based deadlines,” Riot said in its blog. “We owe it to ourselves and to you to prioritize our health as a team (well, many teams) so we can bring you new experiences long into the future.” Riot also said it would be “shifting some patches and release timelines a bit” to accommodate the break and that “a few teams are also staggering their time off to make sure everything is running smoothly.”

Other developers have dealt with crunch in different ways, and many studios have become more transparent in recent years about measures to combat burnout thanks in large part to media reports on game developer working conditions and industry pushes for unionization.

Epic Games gave employees a two-week vacation between June and July of 2019 following a Polygon report detailing months of intense crunch to support the massively popular Fortnite. Epic has also given staff a two-week break around Christmas in the past, according WRAL TechWire. And Epic Games employee Jay Hosfelt said the company “shuts the studio down for 2 weeks in the summer and two in the winter,” in a June 2019 tweet.

EA-owned studio Respawn said it wouldn’t rush updates to its own hit battle royale shooter, Apex Legends, to help “avoid crunch” in April 2019, just a day after Polygon’s report about Epic Games was published.

Riot has taken a number of steps to improve its company culture, which has come under scrutiny in the past for alleged sexist behavior from some employees and toxic management that failed to address repeated abuses. The studio settled with current and former female employees for $10 million in December 2019 in a lawsuit that accused Riot of gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 15 minutes ago Not just you

T
Thomas Ricker15 minutes ago
The Simpsons pays tribute to Chrome’s dino game.

Season 34 of The Simpsons kicked off on Sunday night with an opening credits “couch gag” based on the offline dino game from Google’s Chrome browser. Cactus, cactus, couch, d’oh! Perfect.


T
Youtube
Thomas Ricker7:29 AM UTC
Table breaks before Apple Watch Ultra’s sapphire glass.

”It’s the most rugged and capable Apple Watch yet,” said Apple at the launch of the Apple Watch Ultra (read The Verge review here). YouTuber TechRax put that claim to the test with a series of drop, scratch, and hammer tests. Takeaways: the titanium case will scratch with enough abuse, and that flat sapphire front crystal is tough — tougher than the table which cracks before the Ultra fails — but not indestructible.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
E
External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.