Valorant has been around for some time now and the game has grown significantly over the past year. Will it get even bigger and challenge CS:GO or follow the fate of Overwatch?
Riot's tactical shooter entered closed beta in early April of 2020. The official release followed on June 2 when Valorant came out and was free to download for everyone. Before that, anyone who wanted in on the action had to watch Valorant streams on Twitch for the chance to get a key. That was a brilliant marketing strategy from Riot and it gave some amazing results.
Valorant in 2020
Valorant was the hip new tactical shooter of 2020 and everyone was dying to try it out. The only thing it was missing was a proper competitive scene but that soon changed as the months went by. Numerous pro players from other FPS titles like CS:GO, Overwatch, Fortnite, Apex Legends, and others switched from their old game to Valorant for a chance at glory.
Big esports organizations like Cloud9, G2 Esports, TSM, T1, and many more started building their own Valorant squads. Some even signed players before the end of the beta.
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The Ignitions Series and First Strike
In June, Riot Games the Valorant Ignition Series. It marked the release of the shooter and offered players the first taste of a competitive scene. The Ignition Series spanned over numerous regions, offering teams a chance to prove they're the best on a local level. The tournaments concluded in September.
Riot followed it up with First Strike, a regional event that was reserved for only the best of the best. Viewership of the event peaked in regions like North America and Europe where it reached 300k and 100k respectively but most of the others were showing little interest.
Valorant in 2021: What's New?
All of this brings us to the current year, 2021. What's new in Valorant? In terms of gameplay, the title now has 15 playable agents and a total of five maps. Valorant is currently in Act II, Episode 2 with the next big patch coming in April. This year will offer more competitive Valorant than the previous one.
Valorant Champions Tour
The Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) is Riot's esports strategy for the title throughout 2021. It's a mix of regional play, open qualifiers and big events for the best of the best.
Aside from the big finale, which is going to be Valorant Champions, teams will also have a chance for international play at the Stage 2 Masters. The latter is set to happen in Reykjavik, Iceland in June.
Riot Games have made sure that the title's competitive side is as transparent as possible. After all, Valorant was designed to be an esports game.
When Will it Be Enough?
Despite the huge growth of Valorant over the better half of a year it still has plenty of room to develop. The main competitor for Riot's shooter remains Valve's CS:GO. The two titles have quite a lot in common and plenty of differences to set them apart. While many players left CS:GO to join Valorant, the opposite hasn't happened yet and that's a good sign that Riot are doing it right.
We'll probably never see one title absolutely dominate and kill the other as there's a solid base behind CS:GO and an increasing one in Valorant. Speaking in numbers Valorant is in the top 5 most-watched games in March 2021, getting a lead on CS:GO. So, is Valorant big enough already?
To put it simply, it certainly looks that way. Sure, it has some flaws, but the esports scene is already there, and it's only going to get better - probably. One major issue is that the game is mostly popular in North America and Europe. Other regions such as CIS have strong ties to CS:GO and it's hard to imagine many players in there will be switching to Riot's shooter - if viewership is any indication of that. What are your thoughts on Valorant and its future? Is it a dead game? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter!