Riot Games Cancels Plans For Unannounced Twitch Competitor After Layoffs

Riot Games Cancels Plans For Unannounced Twitch Competitor After Layoffs

Riot Games has shuttered an unannounced plan for a video streaming platform that it would have used to take on Twitch.

As reported by Bloomberg, the platform was tentatively named the Riot Esports Network, or REN, and was an app fans could use to watch competitive rounds of Riot games like League of Legends and Valorant between pro players. League esports, just by itself, draws massive viewer counts on Twitch, frequently in the hundreds of thousands, on any given day of the year. It’s easy to see a business case for Riot wanting to capture those meteoric numbers for itself.

However, any plans Riot had for REN ended with this week’s round of redundancies in which the company culled 530 staff, around 11% of its total headcount.

REN’s cancellation was confirmed to Bloomberg by Riot’s president of esports John Needham. Needham wrote about his grand designs on a streaming platform to compete with Twitch in a blog post last year titled Building the Future of Sport at Riot Games. One of the ideas behind the REN platform was that it would integrate with the Riot launcher, giving players in-game drops for watching or bonus content fo purchases made during specific broadcasts. Bloomberg’s reporting states that REN had reached an internal testing phase at the time of its cancellation.

REN came about following Riot’s 2021 acquisition of Kanga, an organisation that specialised in “fan hubs” built around popular games. These hubs would offer videos, betting and merchandise sales to fans wanting to support specific teams.

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