Can New Company Values Save Riot Games Culture?

The maker of one of the world’s most popular online battle arenas is taking a proactive step to address so-called “bro” culture in the gaming industry. Riot Games has published a set of company values that will govern its operations moving forward. The move comes after the company was accused in 2018 by some employees of advancing a sexist agenda.

Riot Games is best known for developing the popular League of Legends game platform. When the company was formed in 2012 it produced a manifesto which was meant to set forth the Riot Games philosophy. Gaming has undergone many changes since then, one of them being a greater willingness on the part of gamers and gaming companies to confront a negative culture.

The Riot Games culture is part of a larger problem in the gaming community. Many feel that the prevailing culture subjugates women in a sexist way. From the way women are depicted in video games to the way they are treated in chats during streaming, misogynistic attitudes in gaming seem to have reached a peak in the past ten years.

A controversy known as Gamergate occurred in 2014. Females in the gaming industry were targeted for harassment and abuse by other players, mostly male. The worst offenses were death threats against game developer Zoe Quinn. The entire spectacle gave gaming a black eye that the industry has yet to heal.

Last year allegations of sexism were raised by employees of Riot Games. There were no immediate measures to counteract the accusations, but the company began quietly revamping its policies regarding Riot Games culture.

According to Riot Games, more than 1,700 Rioters were directly involved in discussions about the company’s new direction. What emerged from the discussions was a new manifesto, a set of values that the company sees as a stepping stone to transformation. A statement from the company indicates that Riot Games seeks to be a role model for more progressive attitudes in the industry.

While the new values are a step in the right direction, Riot Games may not be out of the woods just yet. Some employees have filed a lawsuit in response to last year’s revelations. Those employees are accusing Riot Games of gender discrimination in court. Some even believe that the promotion of the new company values is a ploy to convince the courts that Riot Games is contrite about its past behavior.

Another measure that was taken by Riot Games was the appointment of Angela Roseboro as Chief Diversity Officer for the company. Roseboro has stated that her initial goal was to speak with the company’s employees about their vision for the company. It took her 90 days to complete those assessments which led to the creation of new values for Riot Games culture.

It is encouraging to see one of the world’s leading gaming companies address the issue of gaming culture. Hopes are high that a new culture of inclusion and diversity is something all who love games can get behind.

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