19th May2020

Can Valorant Find Success In A Competitive Market?

by James Smith

The latest game to take a step into the competitive world of esports can be found in Riot Games’ new title, Valorant. Currently in closed beta, the game has found a lot of success largely through the massive exposure it is getting on Twitch and the huge number of professional players that populated other games moving across to it – but as the game moves closer to release, there are already concerns whether or not it can fill a gap in the market that isn’t really there – early signs for the game may be looking good, but there is still a long way to go before the game can define itself as one of the premier esports titles.

The full release of the game is scheduled for the summer – there is still the possibility that this may be delayed once again depending on how long the current global crisis takes hold for, but as it stands a lot of balance changes are being made during the closed beta to ensure that the game is in the best state it can be before a full release but there are still limitations – in the current state the game only has three maps, which as a proving ground for competitive settings is extremely difficult especially as the maps are very small and lack a little balance. This is also true for the available agents, although balance changes are being made it is clear that some are mandatory where others are much weaker. It has already been confirmed that there will be more maps and more agents upon fill release, but without the ability to test them, it’s still unknown whether or not they will follow the same mould as the previous.

It has some big names to compete with – Overwatch is likely the best comparison for the way the game may be played for the arcade playstyle and abilities, but Overwatch has experienced its own struggles recently. Counter-Strike has also been mentioned as a competitor, largely in part of the gameplay, but a lot of the comparisons that have been made are hard to find with recent changes to the ingame economy and playstyle which move it away from that mantle – the good news here is that Riot has a long history of high production value and listening to community feedback as League of Legends continues to be the best performing esport in the world.

Given recent news, one thing that needs to be established very early however is a strong ruleset and guidance for boundaries – esports has been marred lately with match fixing scandals as betting sites and casinos not on gamstop continue to grow in popularity – to avoid the same happening early on in a game with such high exposure, systems need to be in place to both manage the organisations involved and the players to keep the integrity of the game.

One thing that is already certain – the game will be successful as it has already had such a strong start, the question left to be answered is toward just how successful it may be, and will it be able to match up against a game that has cornered the market for the better part of two decades.

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