Ever since ‘Project A’ was announced as Riot Games’ entry into the FPS genre, the buzz about it being a ‘Counter-Strike killer’ became a raging topic of discussion within the gaming community. At the time, Henry “HenryG” Greer, Cloud9’s general manager and a former professional CS:GO commentator, who was invited to test out an early version of the game, had stated that “Project A is the best game I have played since CS:GO.” Now nearly a year down the line with Project A having officially released as Valorant, the game is living up to all the hype. With CS:GO facing multiple challenges of its own this year (2020), Valorant has managed to settle quite comfortably within the esports ecosystem, especially here in Asia.
When it comes to CS:GO, Valve has long ignored the Asian region and its competitive circuit never really took off. Sure, the game does have a loyal user base, but the initial lack of international opportunities for teams from the region has created a situation where Asian CS:GO teams are no longer able to hold their own against the rest of the world. And while it is still early to comment on how the upcoming Valorant teams from Asia will fare against other international teams, the attention that the region is receiving from Riot Games right from the very beginning bodes well for its budding competitive circuit.
Valorant’s Initial Steps in Esports - 2020
It wasn’t really a secret that Valorant was being made as a 5v5 competitive first-person shooter (FPS) game. A month before its release, Riot Games rolled out guidelines for third-party tournament organizers called ‘Community Competition Guidelines’. This gave everyone a clear idea about the developer’s plan to keep close control over the esports side of things while ensuring that the process is transparent and fair.
With the groundwork laid out, two weeks after the game’s release, the developers announced the ‘Valorant Ignition Series’, which was a set of tournaments taking place all over the world focused on building a competitive circuit. The Asian region was set to host five tournaments as part of this initiative, with the total prize pool amounting to a little over USD 112 K. These tournaments witnessed a combined average concurrent viewership of 10.7 K views.
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