Is VALORANT the next big esport?
Although Riot Games’ new release hasn’t even been made available to the general public, VALORANT is positioning itself to become the next big esports title. The closed beta drew in over 1.7 million viewers on Twitch, tying the record for most concurrent users watching a single game category. The new 5 vs. 5 team shooter has been described as a crossover between CS:GO and Overwatch. The game combines the lethality of weapons from CS:GO with the unique hero abilities of Overwatch.
Despite the game just being released in closed beta today, many streamers have already played the game as part of an ongoing promotion. The event included the likes of Ninja, Jordan Fisher, TimTheTatman, Pengu, Anne Munition, and KingGeorge all playing the game for viewers. These streamers had drops enabled on their Twitch channels, potentially giving viewers access to the VALORANT closed beta. TwitchRivals also held the first VALORANT tournament with additional streamers taking part. One of the most notable parts of this promotion was that none of the streamers got sponsorships out of it. Some of the new top esports games like Fortnite and Apex Legends paid popular content creators to feature their content at launch.
These developments show that there is a massive grassroots movement behind the game. These creators felt that the game was worth showcasing because it would bring in more viewers. Not only did the event benefit the streamers, but Riot also managed to obtain a massive amount of free advertising. Riot Games is best known for League of Legends, the most popular esports game in the world, meaning that VALORANT will almost certainly receive the full esports treatment. In fact, some of the biggest names in esports have already decided to focus solely on the new game. Harrison “Psalm” Chang, the Fortnite World Cup runner-up, announced he would make the switch to VALORANT on April 5.
Consequences for other Games
In addition to Psalm, multiple members of the crumbling Overwatch “Academy” scene have announced their jump to VALORANT. Notably, multiple members of the just disbanded Montreal Rebellion announced they would make the switch to VALORANT. Seb ”Numlocked” Barton, a former Rebellion team member, made the announcement via a Twitlonger post. Tanishq “Tanizhq” Sabharwal, the team manager/analyst for Rebellion, announced his move to the game via Twitter.
Despite the organic support for the game, there are still some content creators who lack conviction. During a recent stream, Herschel “Dr DisRespect” Beahm IV, gave a more critical view of the upcoming game. The streamer called the game “hard to watch,” saying that it reminds him of Overwatch.
Written by Efren Hurtado