The Ignition tournament series became the first Valorant-related esports undertaking of Riot Games. With the number of its competitions almost reaching ten, it is time to sum up the first results.
Made for esports?
Valorant's appearance in the world of esports was a rather sudden one. Riot Games began testing the shooter back in the spring, and immediately afterwards the competitive life of the game was discussed far and wide. Meanwhile, the developers preferred to observe the situation rather than answering any questions regarding it.
The game was developed as an esports discipline since the very beginning. The enhancement of the netcode and engine quality was the main focus of the game's development process. This includes downgrading the shooter's graphics for the sake of better performance. Overall, this approach allows the game to reach a wider target audience.
The Valorant competitions have been taking place since the game's beta testing launch. The competitive season was opened with Twitch Rivals, and although this was more for demonstration purposes, it has managed to gather 700 thousand peak viewers.
This event was immediately followed by major tournaments from various organizers – out of which the 100 Thieves Invitational stood out the most. The tournament from the American organization was watched by 443 thousand peak viewers.
Nowadays, a near-entirety of the top most popular tournaments consists of the championships from the Twitch Rivals series. Aside of the debut competition, the Brazilian tournament has gathered the largest number of peak viewers: 221 thousand.
The first steps of the developer
When it came to the development of Valorant's ecosystem, the developer's first step was to launch a series of tournaments known as "Ignition Series." It allowed every interested organizer to apply for hosting a competition – which required facing certain conditions based on the size of the prize fund.
Standing out among the series' debutants was the RAGE Invitational. The championship featured a prize fund of 4 thousand dollars and managed to attract 39 thousand peak viewers and 21 thousand average viewers. Taking place at around the same time, G2 Esports Invitational featured a several times larger prize pool, and yet failed to reach the level of its rival in terms of results.
Overall, at first the game used help of large organizations when it came to organizing esports competitions. To be more precise, some of the major LoL clubs (G2 Esports, T1 and Vitality) held their own tournaments. By the way, they were among the first to sign up their Valorant rosters.
As expected, WePlay! VALORANT Invitational and T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Showdown have featured the biggest prize pools to date. Both played 50 thousand dollars between the participants. These also became the most popular events in the entire series.
Where is the game popular as an esports discipline?
Judging by the licensing events, the developers seem to be testing the waters in each particular region.
Valorant has the largest number of viewers in Europe and America. It makes sense telling about the game's most popular languages using WePlay! VALORANT Invitational as an example. The English-language broadcast has gathered the most viewers, bringing the championship 72% of the total hours watched. Russian language became the second most popular, bringing the event 13% of its hours watched. Closing the top 3 was the French language with its 8%.
The game was received with great interest in the USA. The local tournaments are quite popular among the fans. It should be noted that the company's other product, League of Legends, is facing problems in this country. As for Valorant's main rival in the face of CS:GO, it manages to keep its presence in the "New World" thanks to Brazilian fans.
Talking about them, it should be said that the shooter is closely followed in South America as well. After all, Brazil was always known to find the competitive shooters quite attractive: R6, CS:GO, Free Fire, and now Valorant. For now, Gamers Club Ultimate became the region's only licensed tournament. Incidentally, it has also received the higher average viewers indicator across the entire Ignition Series.
When it comes to the counters of the Eastern Hemisphere, Japan stands out the most. Its local RAGE Invitational tournament became the most popular in all of Asia and Oceania. This is quite interesting given that PUBG is also popular in this country – while CS:GO is still not among the top disciplines. Therefore, it may be that the reason of Valorant's success here lies in the popularity of League of Legends.
Platforms have also shown interest in the game
The case of Valorant is at times quite unusual for esports. While as of today, the shooter's target platform is Twitch, the "violet platform" does have few rivals to be mentioned.
Judging by their efforts, we can name Trovo as the main one so far. Right in its earliest days, the new streaming service held a relatively small-scale championship on the new title of Riot Games. This Valorant tournament saw a clash of best teams from Europe and North America.
It should be understood that the presence of vast majority of viewers on Twitch is of no coincidence. The platform is known for constantly hosting tournaments with impressive prize pools. Additionally, the Twitch Rivals series was chosen for unveiling the game's first gameplay by the developers themselves. Afterwards, it pretty much became the discipline's main championship. As per the series' tradition, the partner streamers became its main participants.