Riot Games

  www.riotgames.com
  www.riotgames.com

Riot Games Reviews

Updated December 17, 2014
Updated December 17, 2014
192 Reviews
4.5
192 Reviews
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Riot Games CEO Brandon Beck
Brandon Beck
170 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Everything the company does is to give the League of Legends players the best experience (in 22 reviews)

  • People say there is a lack of work-life balance, but this must vary from team to team (in 9 reviews)


Cons
  • The work-life balance is flexible and adaptable, everyone is really understanding (in 30 reviews)

  • Compensation for some roles is abysmal for the cost of living in Santa Monica (in 16 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 9 people found this helpful  

    Strong on Culture and Teamwork. Finding its Way as it Matures

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I'm not sure how to break this down into a simple list of pros and cons. Everything about Riot is dual-edged and requires consistent grounding to maintain realistic perspectives. If I could summarize, Rioters are given great power. "And with great power comes great responsibility."

    Riot believes in its cultural manifesto. Culture drives everything, but it's not as simple as reading and consenting to the manifesto. Riot culture is a mirror through which Rioters reflect on whether we're winning or losing both as a company and as individuals, and it requires ongoing introspection even after years of working here.

    Riot has lots of perks. Free meals, parties, international trips, lots of swag, relaxed work environment, flexible hours, unlimited PTO, time allotted to play games, playfund (they will pay for you to buy games), etc. Riot takes good care of its employees and strives to create a work environment that is fun and challenging. Many on the outside accidentally mistake this for culture. It isn't. Culture is the set of shared values we can agree upon as being important to us and describing who we aspire to be.

    During the interview process, candidates are screened not only on their raw qualifications (what have they accomplished, can they perform the job function), but on whether they demonstrate clear alignment with Riot's cultural values. Yearly 360-Reviews break feedback down into categories aligned with the cultural manifesto. A large portion of Riot's senior leadership is focused on how to make sure Riot's culture remains intact as the organization continues to grow globally. This has some interesting manifestations as it comes to hiring and career growth.

     - Culture is prized more than raw technical ability in a hire. A candidate may be intellectually brilliant or driven, but will not make it through if they seem to lack humility or a default orientation toward succeeding as a team versus as an individual. I have witnessed any number of amazing engineers either be passed over as a hire or leave the company because at the end of the day they valued building awesome technology more than they valued how that technology was creating better experiences for the player. This is neither a pro nor a con, but it is a reality that potential Rioters should understand and keep in mind.

     - Promotion and career progression are disconnected from how "hard" one works, who they know, or one's particular work quality (unless that quality is sub-par). It's mostly a function of one's demonstrated ability to force-multiply; to help their team or other teams to accomplish more and to drive new ways to approaching problems. "Senior" individuals are not looked at as merely having greater expertise than their peers or having higher throughput. They're primarily viewed as people who are able to create an environment or atmosphere that removes obstacles and makes their peers feel empowered. Thus, longevity or delivery on mere quantity of features doesn't play well for advancement.

     - Everything is done as part of a team. Lone-wolves, no matter how brilliant, will not succeed long term. Individual contributors are not highly valued unless they are also helping to level up the rest of their peers. Individual quantity, throughput, or flashes of brilliance don't really make up for failure in this regard.

     - Internal advancement to senior leadership is primarily achieved through challenging convention - championing some new idea or problem space - and being able to rally a team around it. Waiting for a new department to have an open leadership slot is not very effective. Most senior leaders I've observed that weren't external hires were folks who identified a problem space they cared about passionately, were able to rally others around around it, and ended up proposing and creating the team/department from wholecloth.

     - Management will generally not tell you what to do. This is good for the type of people Riot wants to attract, not so good for those who are fundamentally task-oriented. Leaders at Riot want to clarify goals and expectations, but unless you're an associate level, they don't want to tell you what to do or how to do it. They generally expect that Rioters are capable of thinking for themselves and understand when to reach out to their teammates or leaders for alignment or help. But individual Rioters are expected to own this themselves and figure out what needs to be done. This can be empowering much of the time, but also frustrating when a Rioter lacks clarity and doesn't understand how to seek it.

    Lastly, on the positive side, Riot's culture of open feedback has created an environment where everything mentioned in this review (both in pros here and the cons below) can be (and are regularly) discussed openly. Riot isn't a perfect organization - it's made of human beings after all - but it is an organization that craves feedback and opportunities to learn how to be better all the time.

    Cons

    Same with the pros above, I don't consider these purely negative, but they do present some challenges. Most of these center on how Rioters communicate effectively as the scale of the company increases.

     - Hiring feels SLOW. The need to maintain Riot culture in addition to finding highly qualified candidates can make it feel like you're constantly searching for a unicorn. It's super important to find cultural fits. But if your team needs to hire 5 people to succeed, get ready to feel like you're short on resources for the next year.

     - Immature communication channels. Riot is gradually figuring out how to manage team interactions as the company grows across multiple offices, but this can often be painful. There is still some startup mentality where people think they can just call folks into a room/meeting and everyone will be on the same page. This can sometimes lead to a sense that you need to be "in the room" in order to have your opinion matter.

     - Too many recurring meetings. As Riot grows and it becomes harder to have casual face-to-face conversations with all stakeholders, lots of folks try to schedule meetings as a replacement. These drain the productive juices out of many participants. Be prepared to push back on any meeting invite that doesn't have a set, clear agenda. They will try to take over your calendar.

     - Weak meeting facilitation. Riot prides itself on being a flat organization. Bosses don't dominate the discussion and all Rioters are encouraged to participate. Riot tries to create a meritocratic environment for surfacing ideas in meetings, where anyone is encouraged to speak up at any time. But without strong facilitation, this often leads to people who are willing to interrupt or those whose style is to "think out loud" to be the majority of the voice that gets heard. This has led to an impression among many that when it comes to getting your vision across at Riot, only alpha personalities are valued. This is an unfortunate (and inaccurate) perception, but it's not helped by lack of strong facilitation during meetings. Riot needs to learn stronger facilitation techniques in order to maintain meritocratic interactions without accidentally promoting a culture that values "waiting to talk" over listening. Be prepared to exercise patience here.

     - Side-effects of a strong culture of ownership. Usually this is a great thing, as it encourages teams to take responsibility for what they create end-to-end without pointing fingers when they assumed another team would handle something for them. But a side effect one will notice over time is that some teams come to believe they own an entire type of problem space for the company and can become territorial when other teams start to tread in their domain. This is something management seems sort of aware of and is gradually dealing with over time, but it can be a pain point. People who excel at inter-team collaboration and relationship building will be most effective under these circumstances.

     - Individual Rioters are responsible for maintaining their own work/life balance. This is a positive in principle, but I think the company could do more to arm new Rioters with some practical tools & techniques. Nobody makes you stay late or work weekends, but it's very easy to fall into doing that at Riot if you don't make a conscious effort to stay on top of it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep the strong focus on culture as the company continues to grow. Do more to articulate this externally with prospective hires. Riot culture is something with a lot of nuance, and many potential hires are coming into this with little understanding of how Riot actually thinks about its own values.

     Riot places a lot of emphasis on leadership and cultivating leadership qualities. Start to place equal emphasis on communications and facilitation as the company grows in order to allow leadership and teams to scale, and to ensure all Rioters feel they have adequate venues to contribute their ideas.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Lives up to the hype!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    LOVING my job at Riot. This may not be true for all Rioters, but for me, my job at Riot was a lifestyle change. Riot not only creates the environment and the culture for you to innovate and come up with crazy ideas, but also empowers and supports you every step of the way.

    From day 1, I felt like I had every right to go in and voice my concern with any process, and suggest/implement changes to better the company. Seniority and politics don't come into play.

    Cons

    Things to consider- overtime happens...constantly. Everyone works around the clock, and puts in extra hours. I have never completed all of the tasks that I want to finish in a day, and never felt content heading home after work. The thing about Riot is that we hire a lot of overachievers and workaholics, and right now, we are hiring like crazy. But with all the tasks that need to be done, our team still runs very lean. My day is filled 150% with tasks that need to get done, that I don't get the chance to push the limits. I constantly feel like I have to choose between doing my job, and acting on an amazing idea I have to boost our team. I'd like Riot to be better staffed so I can do what I was hired to do, and improve the team, rather than only taking care of emergent tasks at hand.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you're doing. One issue I'd like to address is that Riot is not always the right fit for everyone, and despite the long, detailed vetting process, there are times where we hire the wrong people. However, I think it is important that there is always a PIP put in place to help that person, and give that person a chance to improve. I've seen an instance where a Rioter was let go without a PIP. And though this sucks for that person, it also affects the mood of other Rioters. It deducts from our feeling of job security knowing that we could be pulled into the Teemo room anytime and be let go.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    A great place to develop great games

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    First off, I have been working at Riot for two years and I love it here. I have worked at two other triple A game developers.

    Riot is a company of gamers who place the players first! This is true in the development teams (like many game companies) and it is also true in sales, finance, people (HR) and upper management. Riot values the player and demands that its employees think of the player value of their actions.

    Riot is also a company that places a great deal of autonomy in small teams and individuals. Teams and individuals are given high level goals and are then empowered to find the best way to accomplish them.

    I have found Riot to strive for a good work life balance. I have worked on a weeked twice (aside from checking email on my phone) over two years. Longer days are not uncommon however although only once has that ever been explicit asked of me (there was a problem with the live service and I was happy to help).

    Cons

    Management is not always there to tell you explicitly what to do. I have seen people fail who really needed more help from management and they were left to long on their own. It is important if you come to Riot that you are self-aware of your weaknesses because management won't always be there. Listen to your peers as well they may not be your boss but they can give you important advice. At times the reporting structure has been especially overloaded with managers having 20+ reports.

    Life can be chaotic at Riot. Riot values action and judgement over process. This means that things are going to change. Very few people are on the same team a year after they joined. Sudden changes can happen where the company is rapidly responding to an external event. I have been on a plane with 24-hours notice.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Riot Games is a great place to work for those that have personal drive and passion, others take heed.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Rioter in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Rioter in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at Riot Games

    Pros

    We have great benefits and perks. Riot really cares about it's Rioters.
    We are challenged on a constant basis, no stagnant minds here.
    If you have passion for things other than your specific job, there are many opportunities to have outlets.
    Office is pretty cool, soon to be better!
    Open PTO policy
    If you invest in Riot, Riot will invest in you.
    Gaming encouragement (games are played in the office, all games, not just League)

    Cons

    Tend to be work/life/balance issues, due to gaming at work and passion of Rioters.
    If you don't find a mentor at times you can feel lost (you are responsible to find your own, and drive the relationship)
    Loud work spaces
    Some ppl play too many games, you wonder if they actually work
    Riot Games is located in a high cost of living area
    There has yet to be a lot of growth into mgmt, often times hired from the outside

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make sure to help your newbies find leadership and mentorship, rather than throw them into the deep end. When you don't know any one, you don't know who to ask for mentorship.

    Promote from within, work to grow your strong Rioters.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Harder than you realize, more rewarding than you expect

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Software Engineer (Platform) in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Associate Software Engineer (Platform) in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Let's start with what I do. I'm a software engineer, building content I care about. I'm on an energetic team who is deeply invested in what we do. I'm reminded every day to think what is best for the player, and how we deliver value. It makes the hours fly by, when you're surrounded by talent and passion. Work can be chaotic and there's not always someone telling you what to do. Self-motivation is a DEFINITE must. No one is going to baby you here.

    PTO is second to none. Life comes first, and if I have an emergency or something I need to take care of, I never feel pressured to put Riot or my work first.

    Work-life balance varies from team to team. My team has a great balance of core hours and productivity, and our schedules are flexible to accommodate family and other commitments. As long as you continue to deliver on commitments, no one is going to tell you to work until 9:30pm. If you want to stick around and hang out with your own friends playing the new Legend of the Poro King mode though, no one is going to stop you =)

    Cons

    What we do isn't easy, and it's emotionally taxing telling yourself and your team that we can do better. Feedback on my team is very open, and I've had my mistakes pointed out more than a handful of times. But it's not malicious, but instead feedback that helps me not make the same mistake twice =)

    Your career growth is in your own hands. Make a fuss, stand up, and fight for what's important to you. This can be daunting for some people, but you're idea might clash with other passionate people. Be prepared to fight for it.

    It's not always clear what's the next step, or what should be done next. There's a lot of cross-team collaboration, so you'll need to play nice. The great part about Riot's strict hiring process is the fact that I know everyone else also has the players' best interests in mind... Sometimes that's the common ground needed to make compromises =)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep remaining accessible to employees. I've reached out to the senior leadership and always received a prompt and courteous response. It makes a huge difference knowing the little guys' voices can be heard.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Dedication to values

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - QA Leadership in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - QA Leadership in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at Riot Games

    Pros

    Riot remains steadfastly dedicated to upholding the tenets that the company was founded on.
    There is an incredible amount of autonomy for individuals to drive for change and evolution.
    For the most part Sr. Leadership has a high level of integrity and vision.
    The startup mentality hasn't died off with the rapid growth. People at Riot are still trying to make great things happen for players everyday.

    Cons

    Getting things done sometimes gets in the way of building strong foundations for getting things done.
    Rapid growth has unavoidably diluted the culture to some extent.
    There is conflict in what the best approach for the players really is sometimes.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Figure out which so more important: delivering cool stuff to players or delivering exemplary quality cool stuff to players. That choice drives decisions everyday and will continue to do so. The conflict needs to be resolved so some alignment can be reached.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    3 years.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at Riot Games

    Pros

    Best game in the world. Amazing community. Decent compensation and benefits for a gaming company. A huge building full of smart people doing cool stuff with a real focus on delivering value. Lots of opportunities for personal growth. High degree of freedom of movement between groups internally at the company. Flexible hours, reasonable expectations that you have a life outside of work that requires attention.

    Cons

    High levels of ambiguity can lead to paralysis in a number of different personality types and Riot is not good at meeting those people half-way and helping them get un-stuck. Located in the nexus of traffic hell if you need to live beyond walking distance from work. Group-think.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sometimes when you want to guide someone to a conclusion, it would be better to <bad word removed> tell them what you want, either that or find a way to remove the world "stakeholders" for the everyday vernacular. It's toxic and is a great way to lose good people in the long run.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Commitment to Players, Core Values, and Continuous Improvement

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Riot has some of the smartest people I've worked with in games and tech who are also humble, unassuming and genuinely aligned around a common goal of making great experiences for gamers around the world. Culture supports learning and growth mindset and continuous improvement of people, processes, and products.

    Cons

    We all seek to do as much as we can to make amazing experiences for our players but we sometimes don't balance our our commitments well which results in high pressure to hit dates and quality levels. No one here wants to let players down so it puts pressure on all of us to effectively manage our time and vocalize when expectations are unsustainable and will reduce the value to players.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Own the challenges we collectively face and continue to shine a light on the problems highlighted in the various "Advice to Management" sections. There is solid value in that feedback. Continue to be open and honest about how we can work together to solve our biggest challenges.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Riot is not a job, it's an experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Riot Games

    Pros

    High energy, tons of freedom with serious perks, a staff of creative geniuses that are best in class, with a genuine sense of integrity. A place of gamers for gamers. Most days are a joy here and you get the satisfaction of working on something you really feel makes people happy.

    Cons

    Loose organization with constant change, really daily tons of change, and (often) very little mentorship would leave anyone who is not highly self-motivated lost at sea. Whole teams will vanish overnight and there is little transparency around priorities, so it can feel hugely chaotic, particularly if you can't jump in to any working group and collaborate smoothly no matter what. Plus the stress of live service - not for everyone.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Broad and highly visible sense of priorities would be a massive help for many teams we have working across the organization.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Best company I have ever worked with

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Riot is a place that doesn't just talk about it's values but works every day to live them. The overall team is the strongest I've ever had the pleasure of working with. If you want to come to work every day thinking about how to deliver incredible value to players around the world then you will have a hard time finding a better fit than Riot.

    Cons

    Riot can be very aggressive in our goals which sometimes leads to teams overextending themselves. As a leader at Riot, I spend little time pushing Rioters to be awesome. I spend more time helping people better balance their goals so that they are stretching / learning / growing but not breaking.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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