We’ve meticulously tracked the growth of League of Legends as it's unapologetically burst through every invisible barrier holding back online gaming. We applauded as the LCS found a new venue alongside the NBA in the LA Staples Center, and cheered on the pros now recognised as proper athletes in the eyes of the US government.
What we haven’t been keeping an eye on is its developers, whose girth has grown in tandem with their game. So much so that they’re having to unbuckle their belt and find a new place to live.
Though new offices have sprung up in Saint Louis, Dublin, Seoul, São Paulo, Istanbul, Moscow, Taipei and Sydney, Riot HQ has remained in Santa Monica throughout their nine-year history.
“As we’ve grown, we’ve squeezed ourselves into every cranny and we’ve spread across multiple floors and buildings, making communication between teams occasionally tough,” wrote the developers on their blog. “But when talk turned to bunk desking as a solution for our space woes, we got serious about looking for a larger, more contiguous space to host us all.”
As a result, Riot are moving to LA. Which it transpires is, er, less than a mile away. Their new abode is still within easy reach of the beach, but also a spanking new metro station, which will be used to spirit developers out into the wider world.
Riot hope to be “running short on first-world problems for a while”, and also to improve communication between the teams currently stacked in ring-pull rooms in the old digs. And they’re taking inspiration from two other impossibly successful start-ups.
“We put a lot of effort into shaping our office environment because we believe that it shapes us and the stuff we develop,” they explained. “Sure, in our early years, Riot managed to launch League of Legends from a space where the ceiling leaked and where ‘conference room 2’ consisted of a whiteboard propped in a fire escape stairwell.
“But we’ve always admired visionary companies like Pixar and Google who invest in bodaciously productive workspaces. We aren’t looking to pile on gold-plated perks, just mercilessly crush space issues to create a playful, comfortable, and collaborative space where we can do our very best work.”
So: they’ve signed a lease, and are looking to move the Santa Monica lot, plus new hires, into the new house in Spring 2015. Nice to see a friendly name moving up in the world, isn’t it?