In January I wrote a few words (maybe more) about the way Riot operates and what’s in store in the coming five years. In the piece I wrote about the way we chose our strategy similar to the decision of whether or not to wait for another time after winning.
Secreenshot by share way games
I’ve heard lots of feedback from you that you liked the transparency and glimpse at the inside of the company, and I’ve always wanted to do similar things. At the beginning, I was not sure what I should write about next however I realized that a couple of weeks in the past, after more than two years of meetings via remote all-Riot and a few months of not getting in person for the biweekly gathering known as Campfire.
The feeling of being reunited with family and friends inspired me to think about:
- We’re going back to hybrid collaboration in-person;
- The offices we’re in the process of opening to facilitate that collaboration
- All the company went all the way to Barcelona to begin to ease back into face-to-face interaction after two years of screen-to screen;
- Welcome to (back) Marc Merrill as the President of Games (PoG) and
- The results from the Queue Dodge program we announced in January.
Today, or any day now…maybe anytime now…I’ll be on paternity leave, so this is likely to be my last one for a while. When I return, I will blog about the necessity of parental leave, the importance of a healthy work/life balance, and the reason why Americans are insane for taking so little time off as they take (sorta joking…sorta and not).
I’d like to make clear outright that even though Riot Riot have decided to adopt the hybrid model of work (two days in the field and three days in the office) This isn’t intended to be an instruction on how to implement it or an argument for why everyone should be doing it. Remote work can be an option that is viable for a variety of companies. As of now, I do not believe that the question is about which model is the most effective, but rather the best option for each specific business.
There are businesses that are embracing completely remote work, like those that are looking at hybrids and those that go back to the office for five days seven days a week. To use a different illustration, making a call regarding how you can take on hybrid, remote or full-time in-person work is about selecting your lane. The most successful companies will not be the ones who argue that everyone should follow their rules rather, they’ll be those who choose the right lane and strive to be the best in the lane they choose to be in. Below, I will explain the reasons we chose the path we did and the reasons why it’s the right choice for us.
It’s important to remember that everything below was written with an belief that we’ll reach an point at which COVID becomes feasible to manage. COVID is an ongoing issue that we’re constantly evolving and in which we’re not the experts. We’re depending on the guidance of a group of health professionals from the local area So I’m going to concentrate less on how to get back to work safely and more on the reasons why it’s worthwhile to do to prevent Riot at times when — and the places where we can safely.
Games are more enjoyable in person, and so is creating them.
If you’re sitting on a couch or in the PC Cafe or in the midst crowds of thousands playing in person gives an experience that online gaming can never equal.
In the same way, and with the same reasons, we think that making games is best done IRL as well. We’ve adopted an 1-3-1 hybrid working model which includes Mondays and Fridays as our flexible days. We’ve decided on the days when people will be at work to make it as simple and effortless as is possible to schedule meetings and work across teams without having to figure out who’s working when.
Do you feel your blood flowing when you hear that ace sound from the game VALORANT? Do you feel an adrenaline rush for the chance to level up in WoW? Do scoring goals in FIFA give you the feeling of being like a professional?
Finding these perfect moments can require hundreds or thousands of hours for all kinds of people from engineers to artists, game designers to audio engineers to QA, the narrative writer to…so many other. If you can nail it the right way, you’ll be able to achieve anything.
Things like receiving feedback by asking others to examine your screen, the ability to discuss your idea live with a person around you, and observing your body’s language someone who is not happy about your plans are all very valuable and are much more useful when done in person. Making the team environment facilitate this is much easier when you are in person: building trust, creating a safe environment for everyone to be able to speak about tension and distrust and brainstorming live.
Looking back at the beginnings of Teamfight Tactics, I don’t think we would have been able to go after that idea had not been for walking around the office and watching everyone working playing Dota Auto Chess. This in-person enthusiasm was crucial to everyone involved: it helped us gain the confidence to recruit those who were right for us, move resources, make forward with changes, and implement within six months what would end as our second ever game release. I don’t think we could have experienced the same level of success when we were remote. We don’t know what would happen if there were another TFT that was waiting to happen and we missed because we weren’t there?
There’s been lots of debate about remote work and in-person work. Much of it boils to the concept of productivity. You could consider Riot and consider us an instance of a business that was equally productive when we were in-person. We were efficient because we could get things done. However, Riot will never be known as a company that takes every minute of everyone; we’ve always enjoyed a high level of confidence in Rioters’ ability to manage their time and stress levels. We we are proud of our ability to avoid typical industry mistakes like routine work-life balance.
Can we be more efficient when we are at home? Perhaps for specific tasks, on certain days, or on certain tasks… However, our aim is not to be the most efficient gaming company on the planet. Our aim is to become the most focused on players around the globe. At Riot we’re working to find the perfect balance between the advantages of working at home for the type of work most effective at home while also facilitating the type of collaboration required to be a successful creative company at the size we are (3,000or more employees).
I’m pretty sure that someday, companies will find a way to reap the benefits of face-to face collaboration in a remote setting. I’m not sure when. One year? One decade? We’re not the business that is focused on finding out the answer because that’s not what we’re good at. We’ve decided to concentrate our efforts on developing products that we can offer our customers and not on new ways to work remotely. When companies figure that out, and at a larger the scale needed for a creative experience, you can be assured that we’ll be observant and ready to make changes if it makes sense to us.
Our offices are a part of our culture
Through my time, I’ve been able to visit a variety of Riot offices. Riot’s initial location was…a dump. Perhaps the rent was reasonable? I was lucky enough to be able to help in the opening of the offices of other companies such as in Dublin, Seoul, and Paris. The offices weren’t starting with a beautiful appearance neither. But every office were energized and had an energy that was its own. It was also a sense of confidence that everything was possible. Just around the corner was an idea taking shape which could alter the course of events.
There’s also an unquestionable pleasure that is easy to forget about when you haven’t been to an office for a while. At Riot we try to create offices that are reflect our culture , and a continuous reminder of the people we serve. Learn the details about our office here-they’re each unique and amazing.
In the past, we’ve responded to the spirit and culture of Riot by creating workplaces that reflect the energy of Riot. Gaming rooms, space for casual collaboration, for quiet reflection. Rooms where we can celebrate our characters as well as our the worlds we inhabit. Spaces where you can play with seriousness.
In the moments when our universities are performing at their best there is a buzz. Gaming sessions that are not scheduled, spontaneous celebrations, on-campus club meeting…there are many more to do than just work.
The Southeast Asia publishing team is growing by establishing publishing hubs located in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
It’s a matter of timing the fact that if there’s not a Riot office in your area right now I’m sure it will soon be.
Bienvenido a Barcelona
We knew that bringing everyone together again in person was going be a challenge. We’d built a certain comfort in our homes that would be hard to break , and in the case of many people, had lost sight of the joys Riot in person can be. It was the only way to get together and make it work.
When we reach critical points, we bring the entire company all together in a single location to discuss the direction for the future of the business as well as the strategies we’ll employ to achieve it. We also throw an amazing celebration or two. We also have one SUPER clever term for this: Global Riot Conference (GRC).