Valorant burst onto the scene with record-breaking viewership.
Valorant’s closed beta surged in popularity faster than anyone could have predicted. The hyper-competitive game is the perfect recipe for niche gamers moving away from multiplayer battle royales.
Valorant skyrocketed to the top of the Twitch chart. It surpassed 1.7 million peak viewers breaking the record set by 2019 League of Legends World Championships Finals. Within the last seven days, the closed beta has accumulated over 103 million views. Gaming lifestyle company, 100 Thieves, recently held the first Valorant invitational tournament one week after its beta release. The eight-team event featured popular streamers including Shroud, Timthetatman, DrDisrespect, Ninja, and Summit1g. With this much success, can Riot Games’ Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch hybrid maintain its momentum?
Despite Valorant dominating the number one Twitch slot, some veteran streamers have questioned if Valorant is watchable. Veteran streamer Jaryd ‘Summit1g’ Lazar shared his opinion stating, “I think the abilities are going to be its [Valorant’s] undoing. If I’m being 100% honest, I think from a viewer’s perspective – I was thinking about while playing…it’s very slow and bland and [has] these stupid and boring chokepoints.”
Veteran streamers play an important role in the first impressions of a game. If they feel a game is bland and won’t help them maintain viewers, they’ll no longer stream it and move on to their favorites or the next big game. Many lower-tier streamers tend to follow the wave of veterans to grow their channels.
The official game won’t come out for months but, according to Twitch Tracker, there has been a dip in viewership despite more Twitch channels streaming the game.
The drop in viewers may be due to big streamers with high viewership streaming Valorant for the first week and gradually decreasing their playtime. On April 14, Riot expanded its closed beta access which accounts for the increased channels beginning on the 15th.
Valorant’s record-breaking exposure has made it a success, but the true achievement will be measured in downloads, revenue, and players’ frequency. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, released in 2012, currently has over 1.1 million players on Steam. Its peak player spike of 1.3 million occurred this month at the same time as Valorant’s beta release. Valorant will need a strong player base to maintain its current dominance.
Valorant’s lead producer, Anna Donlon, and game director, Joe Ziegler are monitoring beta feedback and making additional changes going into launch. There’s no word on additional levels, characters, guns, and abilities, but they’re undoubtedly coming. With the possibility of overexposure, Valorant’s creators will have to release fresh content throughout the beta until launch or go on hiatus and release updates periodically. The last thing Riot Games wants is Valorant to become stale before its official release.
The long-term prospects of Valorant are unclear. It has the potential for greatness, but only time will tell if it has the staying power of the games it’s borrowing from.