This is a paid guest post.
Riot Games has come out with its fresh competitive first-person shooter (FPS) game called Valorant. It is a great shooter that incorporates the competitive style of gunplay from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and ties it in with the champion and skill system like Overwatch.
Valorant follows Riot’s favorite free-to-play system. It is a multiplayer tactical FPS developed and published by the very same company behind the most popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game League of Legends and its extension Teamfight Tactics as well as card game Legends of Runeterra.
Valorant is a huge step outside of the comfort zone of the company though. The game just came out into public Alpha but Riot is not waiting in line for anything. The announcement has already come about the Valorant Ignition Series, which is a competitive tournament for teams all over the world that has already kicked off.
The Ignition Series is following a geographical principle much like other worldwide tournaments. There are seven regions present. These include EMEA (Europe and CIS countries), North America, Latin America, Japan, Oceania, South Asia, North Africa. The tournaments are decentralized and therefore held by private companies. For example, the European tournaments will be held by G2 and Vitality.
The system itself is no different from the League of Legends where each region has its own unique format to play in. Riot in general is a company that plays well with the social mainstream trends. This means that a lot of third party companies are also interested in capitalizing on the on-going hype. For example, one of the biggest third-party benefactors is online casinos happily taking bets for winning teams. Esports has always been a part of online casino games. Although there has been a huge controversy surrounding the subject with CS:GO gambling websites where lots of promoting YouTubers are involved with the management and actively messing with the results. Lots of the CS:GO industry representatives were creating this moral and legal slippery slope. Teams were profiting directly from the in-game sale of items like stickers for example, which were extremely common gambling items. In January 2015, Valve even banned seven players after it came to light that the team iBUYPOWER fixed a match while betting on their own opponents and then intentionally losing the championship.
Where does this put Valorant though? The main difference as of now is that there is no community market. This means that it is impossible for the teams to start betting on their opponents on websites that gamble the skins away. However, as monetary incentives are involved nobody is protected from such affairs. Only Riot Games with their hard control over such systems can solely be responsible and fight against this tide.
Valorant has a huge opportunity to become the next big thing on the eSports scene. G2 eSports CEO Carlos Rodriguez has even outlined this in his statement. He said that the partnership between G2 and Riot has made it possible to make the European League of Legends a monster of eSports it is now and this very same partnership is basically guaranteeing the success of Valorant as well.
Valorant’s competitive side was apparent even before Riot disclosed the competitive tournament’s official. With professional players switching to Valorant left and right most renowned being Overwatch’s TOP player Ray “Sinatraa” Won. It is also worth noting that there have already been some of the smaller tournaments hosted by companies like ESPN and Twitch.
The game developers have stated that Riot Games directly supports Ignition Series events and will be promoting it through their own channels. There is already a dedicated page that holds up-to-date tournament schedules. Something that Riot Games does the best is taking feedback from organizers and the community. They are always actively working on the tools that make watching the game much more enjoyable for the community. These may be slight improvements like seen in other competitor products like CS:GO and Overwatch. One thing is for certain, the support for eSports from Riot Games is increasing day by day and Valorant is its newest potshot at the attempt to rock the world once more.
The tournament that is on-going right now is an obvious indicator that Riot wants to make Valorant a global competitive game. With different regions having their own tournaments with their own formats making sure that the cultural aspect is also maintained. The freedom the regions get to mandate their own tournament rules makes it easy for organizations to integrate the culture of eSports into their own communities. The Valorant developer has outlined the fact that they plan on featuring tournaments in places like North America, Latin America, Korea, Japan, South East Asia, Oceania, Europe, Russia, Turkey, and the Middle East. Basically covering the whole world.