Emerging in Esports: Valorant

Our recent posts have taken a look at the big success stories in esports over the past two decades and the most notable names. But the esports market is still growing very rapidly, with plenty of room for other titles to reach the heights of the more established names – we’ll be looking at the big emerges in esports and how they may fit in to this growing market.

The first on this list has to be Valorant. Developed by the same company behind League of Legends, Riot Games had aimed to deliver a first-person shooter experience that brought all of the tactile gameplay from Counter-Strike but merged with newer themes found in games such as Overwatch, with heroes and unique abilities.

Initially launched in beta in mid-2020, the game certainly got off to a flying start as a huge wave of hype would quickly build. Streamers on platforms, such as Twitch, were given early access with other players being able to earn a beta key through watching these streams. Over the course of a number of weeks, many of the bigger channels would rack up hundreds of thousands of viewers hoping to snag a key. With the full release of the game in June, this beta approach certainly garnered a lot of attention and had the intended effect of getting a huge number of players interested.

There had been a small hiccup, however – or perhaps more of an oversight. Once the initial beta hype had died down, numbers did quickly drop as the lack of map diversity and little support for the many bugs that remained throughout beta to live did hurt the game, but not enough to stop the growth. The big push came from the professional players from other titles jumping ship and joining the big Valorant orgs – mostly former Counter-Strike players, but others from PUBG, Fortnite, and Apex would also jump across and brought many of the fans along with them. This has also helped supporting sectors in esports too, such as esports betting, with bigger names already representing popular teams, and an understanding of the ability they’ve possessed in other games, markets like this have quickly grown too.

Not to waste any time, community supported events would quickly spring up and we’d see the big teams start to compete and define an esports meta game. The Valorant esports scene was officially alive and has continued on the same path since. Although there haven’t been any offline events due to the ongoing coronavirus, the online events continue to pull in big viewership and the individual streamers do too – and whilst still early doors for the game, it is certainly looking like it may slot into a gap in the top three games. 

Valorant is still very young and has launched at a difficult time to see the true potential. But with huge names in the esports scene, from both player and streaming talent, there’s a lot going for it. And with the Riot Games production value behind it, once events do start taking place, it will be interesting to see where the game can fit – but it certainly is one of the big emerging titles in esports today.

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