Diversity and inclusion have not always been a prime directive for those in video game developing or video gaming itself. A report by Quartzy demonstrates the point, stating that “in the US, Asian-Americans, followed by African Americans, are most likely to be gamers… The marketing agency Mediakix also found 63% of all mobile gamers to be female… However, the majority of people working in the industry are still white (68%) and male (74%).”
Aligning the demographics of their players and game developers is a challenge faced by many gaming and eSports companies. One of these companies, Riot Games, is facing the discrepancies head on. Riot has announced big changes to its operations in the coming years. Along with a new game type, Riot will also be refining its hiring practices and workplace environment to reflect the changing needs and goals of the industry.
Defining “Riot” culture has always been a part of the company’s development efforts. When the company’s founders released League of Legends in 2009, they were concerned primarily with developing the next level of MOBA games. A decade after the game’s release, it has become clear that the founders were also taking into consideration the social impact that a game could have, as well as the impact that players and player communities could have on a game.
To this day, LoL continues to expand the borders of these correlations. To do this, the company has taken several long hard looks in the mirror over the years. These exercises in self-awareness have led to the determination that bringing diversity to gaming starts with the game development workforce. Riot Games has reworked its cultural fabric to lead the way in diversity and inclusion. A recent collaboration with The Reboot Representation Coalition shows Riot’s commitment to “double the presence of women of color in tech by 2020.”
Executive Outlook of Angela Roseboro
Riot Games recently welcomed Angela Roseboro to its executive lineup. Roseboro will be Riot’s new chief diversity officer and will “lead the creation of new programs to foster a more inclusive culture at Riot.”
Roseboro comes from 20 years of experience in leadership roles including her previous position as head of diversity and inclusion at Dropbox. Roseboro has stated that she is excited to begin doing her part “to make sure we have a culture that embraces the uniqueness of every Rioter and a community where everyone feels a sense of belonging.”
Here is what some of Riot’s former and current employees have said about the company’s internal cultural efforts:
“Everyone here truly cares about their work and their customers. For such a large company, it’s shocking how often Riot tries to do the right thing for their players and how much effort is put into staying connected to players. [It] a truly collaborative work environment for engineers.” The Rioter went on to explain that “teams share their goals, so there’s vested interest from the rest of your team in every line of code you write; it’s easy to get code reviews and feedback on your designs, which is a great way to improve as an engineer.”
“One of the best places in the industry to work,” says a Riot employee on Glassdoor. That commenter also praised Riot’s benefit packages, passionate people, diverse teams, progressive culture, work/life balance, deep caring for employees, and pay structure.
“I have been working at Riot Games full time for more than a year. The culture is what I’ve always wanted. A place where it’s cool to be a nerd and people care passionately about what they’re working on. People don’t ask ‘Do you play games?’ but instead ask ‘What games do you play?’ Riot is an inspiring place to be. Leadership continues to impress me with exciting vision and a focus on player value that manages to actually feel true. We have bi-monthly all-company meetings, and I always walk away from those feeling very proud of my place of work. Learning is highly emphasized, including through many on-site classes that are truly excellent and help me improve in my day-to-day work, as well as things I could take into my next career. The perks are ridiculously good. As a woman, I was really worried about bro culture at Riot, [but] I was happily surprised to find it not the case.”
If you would like to find out more about Riot Games’ expanded diversity, inclusion, and culture initiatives in the eSports industry, check out the company’s Diversity and Inclusion page.