April 27, 2022
On Wednesday, April 20, 2022, the Entertainment Software Association hosted an invitation-only webinar for Washington, D.C. congressional staff offering a unique behind-the-scenes look at Riot Games with Senior Vice President and Head of Valorant Studio Anna Donlon and Vice President and Head of League of Legends Studio Andrei van Roon. Donlon and van Roon offered insights into the development of two of their games—League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle arena game that has pioneered the free-to-play model for over a decade and Valorant, a tactical online shooter.
As part of the conversation, Donlon and van Roon also discussed how Riot works to create safe and welcoming experiences, instituting tools and policies for addressing disruptive behavior from players.
“I think the first step for us was just saying it out loud—that we’re okay with not having those players in our community, even if it comes with a business impact,” Donlon said. “We feel we are a better game for not having humans that treat other humans horribly in our game. And I think once you say that out loud, and you make it a priority, then all of a sudden you can start getting creative about the kinds of features that you would create to address it.”
According to van Roon, one of the most effective techniques Riot uses to curb harmful conduct is to call it out to players when it happens. “For the majority of them, it’s not that they’re actually consistently toxic or destructive people in online communities—it might just be a bad interaction or a bad day or whatever it may be. And we’ve seen that if we can give them a really proper feedback that their behavior is not acceptable to the other people they play with, that they’ll often snap out pretty quickly,” van Roon said.