On Feb 13, Riot Games announced a very exciting new program, the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Game Changers program. The VCT Game Changers program is a supplement to the competitive VALORANT season that is in place to create exposure for women and other marginalized genders within VALORANT esports.
Representation in VALORANT
Representation in esports has been slowly growing for a while within VALORANT. In October of 2020, Cloud9 announced their first professional all-female team, Cloud9 White, and then in January of this year, Evil Geniuses announced their mixed-gender VALORANT roster, the first competitive mixed-gender VALORANT roster.
Now, Riot Games is taking another step to further representation within VALORANT with their own initiative. The VCT Game Changers program has been in the works since the success of the “For the Women Summer Showdown” Ignition Series tournament in September 2020. Game Changers will be a year-long initiative to build an inclusive VALORANT Champions Tour.
About the Initiative
The two parts of this initiative are the VCT Game Changers Series and the VCT Game Changers Academy. The VCT Game Changers series will be on a global scale, with competitions in regions around the world this year. North America will kick off the competition in late March of this year, hosted by Nerd Street Gamers. The plan is for this to be similar in scale to the Ignition Series tournaments of 2020.
On the other hand, the VCT Game Changers Academy program will host monthly tournaments. It will provide players with more opportunities to compete at the semi-pro and grassroots level. This will allow newer players to the scene with a chance to get their name out there within the VALORANT community. The events will be organized with GALORANT, an all-female community for female VALORANT players. GALORANT was involved with the organization of “For the Women Summer Showdown” tournament back in September 2020. This initiative hopes to open up doors for female VALORANT players who aspire to compete at the professional level.
VALORANT Executive Producer, Anna Donlon, stated in the release that, “competing in games as a woman can be a daunting task, oftentimes resulting in a very real competitive disadvantage… While we’re addressing this challenge in-game, with improvements to chat, voice communications, and mitigation of griefing, we also see an opportunity to take another step with esports.” The VCT Game Changers series is just another step for Riot Games to strive for representation and equality within their game for both competitive and casual gamers across the globe.
Riot Games has been working hard to ensure that VALORANT is a game that allows for inclusive and competitive gameplay. It is clear that the competitive esports community has begun to respond to the need for representation with Cloud9’s and Evil Geniuses’ initiatives to bring under-represented genders onto their rosters. With the new initiative of the VCT Game Changers in place, hopefully, this is another step in the right direction to make esports more accessible to those who have been under-represented in the past.
You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Rene!
“From Our Haus to Yours”