Riot Games, the company behind the hit MOBA League of Legends, has been in the headlines a lot recently. The studio has grown a lot thanks to its flagship video game. However, that growth has not been without major problems. A major lawsuit slammed the developer after tensions boiled over surrounding allegations of workplace discrimination, abuse and harassment. The suit had been settled back in August, and terms have now been fully agreed upon and publicly disclosed.
The suit came as a result of revelations concerning and increasingly difficult and toxic work environment. Kotaku initially broke the story, reporting a wide array of problems, including “men-first” and “bro culture,” along with the existence of a “hot girl list.” The crux of the problems came out when Riot Games attempted to enforce an arbitration clause in employee contracts, leading to mass walkouts. This settlement will see Riot paying out $10 million to those affected. That settlement will go to 1,000 women who have worked for the company since 2014.
Riot Games has also announced, in a new blog post, some sweeping changes happening in response to this ruling and ongoing pressure. The company pledges to fight back against the problems that have ben reported, remaking the studio for the better. Speaking about the future, those involved with the litigation supported these efforts. “This is a very strong settlement agreement that provides meaningful and fair value to class members for their experiences at Riot Games,” said Ryan Saba of Rosen Saba, LLP, the attorney representing the plaintiffs. “This is a clear indication that Riot is dedicated to making progress in evolving its culture and employment practices.”
“We’re pleased to have a proposed settlement to fully resolve the class action lawsuit,” a Riot spokesperson said in a statement. “The settlement is another important step forward, and demonstrates our commitment to living up to our values and to making Riot an inclusive environment for the industry’s best talent.”
It’s pretty clear that the tide is turning in the games industry, it’s just a question of where it ends up. Unionization and other pushback against long crunch hours have become common talking points. Suits alleging workplace abuse are becoming more commonplace, signaling a more receptive public opinion towards such issues. And given that other studios, like Quantic Dream, are beginning to settle the various claims against them, there’s a chance things can get better for workers in the industry.
There’s still a lot of work to be done to eliminate crunch culture, aggressive monetization, harassment, anti-worker practices, and many other problems within video games. But at least progress is being made.