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Riot overhauls staff compensation, expands Queue Dodge system for leavers

Plan promises 25% salary for three months as departees find their feet

Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent has published a lengthy blog post reflecting on the company's future and announcing a new approach to compensating employees, an expansion of its Queue Dodge system, and more.

Riot's new compensation model will focus more on long-term achievements rather than short-term goals, awarding a bonus annually when these long-term milestones are reached. The company is also opening up its shares to employees.

"In December we altered our long term incentive model so that long-term vesting compensation pays out partially each year with a lump sum at the end of the last year," Laurent said. "We have also decided to shift our compensation models to focus more on long-term enterprise value, rather than shorter-term goals like profitability.

"Last but not least, our shareholder (Tencent) agrees with our long term strategy and is giving back partial ownership of the company to Riot employees. Going forward Rioters will have the opportunity to own a portion of the company, along with Tencent, and thus directly participate in the risks and rewards of ownership."

Laurent also announced a change in its Queue Dodge system. The program, which gives employees who have left part of their salary for a while as they transition to another job, was previously limited to staff who had been at the company for less than six months. It's now open to all employees regardless of seniority for "a limited window," Laurent said, without specifying for how long.

"This new Queue Dodge will give Rioters who want to exit an opportunity to do so comfortably, no questions asked. Rioters who choose to Queue Dodge will receive 25% of their base salary with three months of COBRA benefits where applicable. Rioters who take Queue Dodge will also receive their full bonuses, even if they leave before they're paid out (late March in most offices). "

Laurent also touched upon the company's sexual harassment case, which reached a $100 million settlement in December. While adamant that Riot should be held accountable for the contents of the 2018 lawsuit, Laurent also expressed that the "best outcome" is for the case to come to a "final resolution."

"While we're proud of how far we've come since 2018, it's important that we also take responsibility for our past," he wrote. "Given the ambitious goals we have for the future and the tens of millions of dollars we'd spend each year on lawyers to help resolve these cases -- money we'd rather pay to the women in the class and to invest in Riot's future -- it became clear during these past several months that the best outcome for everyone would be to come to a final resolution.

"To be clear, we aren't asking anyone to forget about this chapter and move on. On the contrary, the lessons we've learned together over the last few years will be a crucial part of the Riot Games origin story. Something we'll continue to teach as part of our 'denewb' orientation and lessons that we'll use to always orient ourselves toward what is right for Rioters to make Riot the best possible place to work."

Finally, Riot Games will fully transition to being a product-based organisation instead of having separate departments working on all products. It will also introduce flexible working with three days in the office and two "flex" days where staff can either work remotely or from the studio.

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Marie Dealessandri avatar

Marie Dealessandri

Deputy Editor

Marie Dealessandri joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2019 to head its Academy section. A journalist since 2012, she started in games in 2016 at B2B magazine MCV. She can be found (rarely) tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate and the Dead Cells soundtrack. GI resident Moomins expert.