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Report: Talks of developer walkouts prompt conversation inside Riot Games

Report: Talks of developer walkouts prompt conversation inside Riot Games

April 29, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

April 29, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon
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More: Console/PC, Social/Online

Internal messages received and published by Waypoint say that, following threats of an employee walkout, Riot Games' diversity head has encouraged developers to sign up for “small group sessions” to discuss the concerns.

The potential walkout comes in response to a Kotaku story from last week about motions filed by Riot Games that aimed to force two former employees with lawsuits against the company into private arbitration​ to settle the harassment and other issues raised in their legal complaints.

A source speaking to Waypoint says that the story reignited concerns employees had about if Riot Games leadership was living up to the transparency promised after reports about the studio's toxic culture circulated last year.

In an internal message sent to employees, Riot Games chief diversity officer Angela Roseboro addressed those brewing concerns and talk of a walkout, noting in response to Kotaku's article that “there are pros, cons, and nuances to the discussion of arbitration."

“We’re also aware there may be an upcoming walkout and recognize some Rioters are not feeling heard,” reads an internal message from Roseboro sent to staff over Slack. “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.”

The message goes on to say that the company wants to re-earn employee trust “by having an open and transparent dialogue, but some employees speaking to Waypoint say that the response is frustrating.

“When Angela Roseboro offered to schedule focus sessions with people there was backlash because people were frustrated at yet another example of closed-door discussions instead of transparency," an anonymous developer told Waypoint. "Overall, I think Rioters are sick of feeling like they have no visibility into what leadership is actually doing to improve.”

When reached for confirmation, Riot Games would not comment on the validity of the internal messages shared by Waypoint, and offered the following statement: 

"We’re proud of our colleagues for standing up for what they believe in. We always want Rioters to have the opportunity to be heard, so we’re sitting down today to listen to their opinions and learn more about their perspectives on arbitration. We will also be discussing this topic during our biweekly all-company town hall on Thursday. Both are important forums for us to discuss our current policy and listen to feedback, which are important parts of evaluating all of our procedures and policies, including those related to arbitration."

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