Esports has developed so much that it is now in the general eye of the media. Gaming is no longer only considered just a hobby, but it has become an incredibly lucrative business and a great opportunity to earn money. Looking at famous people who have earned a living through games, you get people who make millions yearly from either tournament winnings, streaming on twitch or sponsorship deals. This is why professional gamers have become so popular, and with their popularity, the games they play as well have grew in popularity too.
Counter-strike Global Offensive never needed a boost in popularity given how well it performs, and because of the length of time, it has been around, which is eight years now. On the other hand, a new game hoping to enter its market has to make an unforgettable entry to make a name for itself.
— VALORANT Esports (@EsportsValorant) September 10, 2020
Riot Games’ new shooter Valorant is hoping to be that newcomer which steals the golden throne from CS:GO. Albeit an incredibly difficult task, Valorant is already amassing huge player figures throughout the day, which is an obvious sign of its popularity. And I am pleasantly surprised to see sportsbooks already offering Valorant lines, for those who enjoy betting on esports.
The way Riot made their entry into the FPS market was quite ingenious as well; everyone was talking about Valorant before its beta even released, and that was thanks to Riot Games’ incredible support for League of Legends, Riot’s colossus in the MOBA genre.
Everyone immediately presumed the support for LoL would be given to Valorant, which made people already start considering the option to switch the studios’ newest title. Upon release, people could register to obtain a beta key or watch Twitch Streams and enlist for drops, where if you obtained a drop you got an invitation for the game. Needless to say, viewership skyrocketed for the first weeks of the beta, overtaking Counter-strike as the most-watched game on Twitch. This is great for the game in its present state, but the question remains, what about its aspirations for the future?
Nowadays, securing a good Esports scene is vital for any online competitive multiplayer game. There are very strong scenes in Fortnite, CS:GO, PUBG and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare; and Valorant’s own scene is also cemented among the top now. This bodes well for the future, but given the current situation with the COVID-19 virus, it is incredibly difficult to predict accurately any future. What one can predict is that the publishers will try to make it happen, and after watching League of Legends get so far in the Esports scenario, it will not be that farfetched to believe Valorant will be up there among the elite as well.
One of the features implemented in Valorant is the microtransaction to get skins in the game. Although these work a little differently, as you can buy whatever skin you want in the game, they essentially have the same core function, and that is to inject more money in the game itself. Skins in Valorant have been said to be very costly, and part of this is the fact you actually get to choose which one you want, opposed to getting loot boxes on Counter-strike. While this could be a detriment to people wanting to get more customization options, players will spend money on the game, so microtransactions will boost the game. Being free to play unlike CS:GO when it first appeared (it is now free-to-play), is an added motive to spend money on Valorant, as you do not feel the “guilt” of spending money both on the game and on additional features.
Having summarized the situation of both games, one cannot eliminate Valorant from being a serious contender to be a headlining Esport in the years to come. CS:GO got to the top in a time where Esports was not half as big as it is today, and Valorant already boasting such a large player base is a strong signal of what’s yet to come. Only time will tell if it does make it though, and knocking CS:GO and some of its other rivals off the top spot is not going to be an easy task in the slightest.