Competitive integrity, accessibility, and authenticity will be at the forefront of Valorant’s esports ecosystem according to Riot Games. The company has announced it has developed early plans for the competitive scene, but that it will be shaped over time by those who wish to invest in it.
The developer wants to open the esports ecosystem up to aspiring professional players who have a chance to become pro through “merit-based competition.” In addition to that, Riot wants to develop relationships with organisations, tournament organisers, content creators, and players to get their thoughts on the next steps.
“We’re overwhelmed by the initial interest and excitement in Valorant,” Whalen ‘Magus’ Rozelle, senior director of global esports at Riot Games, says in a press release. “We have massive dreams for what this game can be as an esport, and we’re excited to embark on this long esports journey with our players. Our primary focus early on will be forming partnerships with players, content creators, tournament organizers, and developers – unlocking them to help us to build the Valorant ecosystem.“
To do this, Riot has established three tiers of competition. Small tournaments will be participant driven with a prize pool of less than $10,000, and be held by the players in places like internet cafes. Medium tournaments will be organised by esports organisations and influencers with a prize pool of $50,000 or less, while Major tournaments will be run by tournament organisers like DreamHack, ESL, and OGN as part of a global competitive ecosystem.
To prepare Valorant for the next step, Riot has already devised guidelines for community competition aimed at helping organisers understand its approach to third-party tournaments. One of they key messages in this document is that blood settings must be turned off by broadcasters. This is to make the game more attractive to sponsors and make it look less violent to the mass market.
This does however mean that third-party tournaments will directly shape how competitive Valorant looks in the future. Lessons from the early days of the competitive circuit will be taken in by Riot and used to perfect the game’s ecosystem when it’s time to launch a global circuit.
But even though the seeds for Valorant’s esports scene have only just been planted, it’s set to have a bright future ahead. The game’s closed beta launch helped break longstanding Twitch records and the game – and its team – shows no sign of slowing down.