For a good number of years, the developer behind League of Legends has been cheekily referred to as Riot Game. With League of Legends proving to be a massive hit for most of the 2010s, the company has pushed the majority of its resources into supporting that product, growing its community and hosting tournaments across the globe.
The 2020s are going to usher in a new era for Riot, as they’ve got not just one but multiple new games in development. One of those games happens to be Valorant, a fusion of Overwatch and Counter-Strike that looks poised to be the hottest new shoot ‘em up experience on the block. Especially if the recent Twitch viewership figures are to be believed.
Last night saw the closed beta for Valorant kick off, with a handful of streamers heading to Twitch to show off the game and how it handles in its current early state. Right out of the gate, eyeballs became glued to their monitors as Valorant streams racked up a massively impressive peak viewership of 1.7 million on Twitch. At the time of writing this post, Valorant was still sitting on a chunk of audience retention, clocking in at over 507 000 people. That’s not too shabby.
It’s even more impressive when you realise that Valorant almost dethroned Fortnite and League of Legends, with those two games each having set records for most concurrent viewers at over 1.7 million. League of Legends reached that milestone during last year’s World Championship, while Fortnite’s cunningly disguised update that helped transition the game to its current Chapter Two phase saw its entire universe destroyed and reset while hundreds of thousands of fans looked on in awe.
The more cynical in you might chalk this unprecedented debut up to popular streamers being paid to promote the game, although Riot explained to Kotaku that while the more popular members of Twitch (TimTheTatman, xQc, Summit1g, DrLupo, Myth, Pokimane) were invited to an online event that coordinated gameplay between them, no cash changed hands.
Still, having those streamers drop beta keys to their viewers was probably a smart marketing move to drive attention towards Valorant, right? The key takeaway here, is that Valorant is going to be big. It may have the title of a topical cream, but Riot has been on point with marketing the game through streamers, building up a community of rabid fans who can’t wait to try the game out and they’re currently dominating streaming services with fresh gameplay.
How long Valorant remains relevant for in an ever-changing industry of attention-grabbing games is anyone’s guess, but at least we’re in for a hell of a debut when this game breaks free from beta and goes live.
Last Updated: April 8, 2020