Riot Games acquires a Wargaming studio to help with live game development

Riot Games HQ
(Image credit: Brian van der Brug (Getty Images))

In a move that it says will help "accelerate the development of live games," League of Legends developer Riot Games has announced that it is the proud new owner of Australian studio Wargaming Sydney.

The studio was founded in 2002 as BigWorld Technology, and gained fame as the creator of the BigWorld toolset used in more than 30 MMOs and online games. It was acquired by Wargaming in 2012 and worked on that company's military MMOs: World of Tanks, World of Warships, and World of Warplanes. Following this acquisition, it will be renamed again, to Riot Sydney, and will work to support League of Legends, Valorant, and Riot tech teams.

"We are really excited to bring these talented developers and teams to Riot," Riot Games co-founder and president Marc Merrill said. "The Rioters that have had the opportunity to work with members of the Sydney team are confident not only in the tech they’ve built over the years but, more importantly, in the people who’ve built it. Naz (Naresh Hirani, Head of Development, Riot Sydney) and the dev teams at the studio have a long history of working in ways that will complement Riot’s ability to deliver value to our players and we really look forward to collaborating with them."

Riot described its new Sydney operation as "one of the largest development studios in Australia." Riot didn't specify how many employees it has, but it was said to be "home to over 100 developers" when Wargaming Sydney joined Australia's Interactive Games and Entertainment Association in 2019. It's a relatively small slice of Wargaming's pie, which according to LinkedIn has more than 5,500 employees spread across nearly a dozen studios around the world. But it's an important acquisition for Riot, which is maintaining and developing not just one but two major live games, and has other irons in the fire as well.

"Being part of Wargaming has been a phenomenal journey for us over the last 10 years, and it’s helped our studio grow and thrive," Riot Sydney head of development Naresh Hirani said. "We were really impressed by the cultural fit we’ve experienced in our dealings with everyone at Riot, and we can’t wait to bring our expertise in global development to the respective teams."

Riot Sydney will continue operating out of its current offices, and Riot said that the entire development staff will be retained. The publishing team, and the ownership of BigWorld, will remain with Wargaming.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.