Last month, Riot Games debuted the closed beta version of their new tactical shooter Valorant. Any new game that is set to take on the behemoths of this particular esports genre, Overwatch and CS:GO, would have to be something very special if it is to make its mark.
And that is what Valorant has done, in spectacular fashion.
With a number of high profile professionals who made their esports mark in Overwatch and CS:GO gaming, not to mention players from other similar games, already declaring that they had turned their attention to Valorant, what is so special about Riot’s new offering, that has taken the esports world by storm, even without a general release for the public?
What is Valorant?
Unkindly called an “Overwatch/CS:GO clone” by some, Valorant is a first-person shooter that was designed by Riot Games to offer an alternative within the genre. It’s critics have already pointed out the similarities between other games in the genre, while its supporters have pointed out that Riot have a long record of producing high-quality titles, including the biggest esports title in the world at the moment League of Legends.
Valorant certainly has elements of its gameplay that are akin to what you would find on CS:GO or Overwatch, but there are also subtle differences in the gameplay, the game structure, characters and game mechanics that have struck a resonant chord with players and it is this which has been behind its sudden increase in popularity.
Reaction to Valorant
By using streamers to market the game, Riot have showcased their beta version of Valorant to the esports and gaming communities. What began as a trickle of players trying the game out, has led to a deluge of professionals stating that they feel their future lies with Valorant esports gaming, rather than their current sport. So much so that the question of whether Overwatch is dying has become something of a recurrent theme within the industry.
However, it should be noted that Valorant is not the first game to have a beta release that appears to be a world-beater. Apex Legends followed a similar path before eventually fizzling out a little. Even Overwatch, which was promised to be the next big thing, has failed to live up to all its pre-release hype.
Valorant Tournaments Now Starting to Take Place
The fact that Valorant has not yet been released to the public has not stopped tournament organizers looking at the positive reaction to Valorant and organizing the first tournament. In April, the ESPN Esports Valorant Invitational took place.
The tournament, which comprised of eight teams of specifically invited individuals who have starred in other first-person shooter esports games, was eventually won by Team Canyon, who defeated Team Mirage in the final. The team of developers, that designed and developed the game, Team Dev, finished third/fourth.
Other Valorant tournaments have now been organized across the world, and although these are still in their formative stages, it does appear that the popularity of the game could well see much larger tournaments take place once the game has been given a general release to the public.
Unsurprisingly, a number of Valorant betting pages and odds on matches are now being made available to esports betting fans across many of the top sites and it seems that the esports universe has grown by another game.
And while this small star is shining at the moment, all the indications are that Valorant could be the next esports supergiant.