Over the past few years, the esports market has absolutely exploded – from something that was considered to be quite a niche culture, now draws in millions of viewers for each large event that takes place. In the esports sphere, there are many games that fill the market depending on what your interests are – some of the biggest in the world at the moment include the likes of League of Legends, DotA 2, and Counter Strike.
Riot Games, the publisher behind League of Legends, are hoping to enter into the FPS esport market with their new game, Valorant. It was initially announced in October 2019 under the development title of Project A and had many excited – it combined the hero and skill system made popular by arcade style shooters such as Overwatch, and combined them with tactical, mechanical heavy games such as Counter Strike. It’s quite an ambitious crossover, as the two styles historically haven’t gone hand in hand – but initial reviews are coming across very positively.
The game is in beta, however, and as such there is still a lot of development to come – feedback here will continue to be extremely valuable, and there will be plenty of it as the fanbase for both the style of the game but also the publisher is plentiful – but we may now begin to see questions around monetisation and how that will be handled.
(Image from Twitch)
There have been criticisms in online games recently for the way microtransactions have been handled as they had strong resemblances to casino styled systems – whilst many countries such as Germany are trying to restrict the outreach of these systems – the UK is also trying to do the same with schemes such as Gamstop to reduce gambling outreach, but there are ways around initiatives like this as these ones aren’t blocked. League of Legends microtransaction system is entirely cosmetic, but has also received a little criticism regarding a random system for receiving some cosmetic items – it is extremely likely that this system will also be carried across to Valorant.
Streamers are definitely doing their part to increase the hype of this game however, some are receiving upwards of 200,000 concurrent viewers at a time giving plenty of pre-release exposure. If the aim is to introduce the game to the esports world, it will likely sit in a beta phase for quite some time to iron out all the kinks and bring as much balance to the game, but to also polish as many features as possible for the more casual audience too. Only time will tell if it can compete with the larger games already on the market, especially the direct competitors of Overwatch and Counter Strike, but as it already has such a large following and the publisher has a large fanbase, it can be pretty certain that the game will have a strong showing on launch.