Very rarely does a game become a smash hit before it is even released. However, that is exactly what Riot Games’ new tactical shooter, “Valorant,” is doing. With some clever marketing and an aggressive beta campaign, “Valorant” has become one of the most highly-anticipated titles of the year.
On Thursday, Riot finally announced when the game will emerge from beta. “Valorant” is slated to arrive on June 2. Riot says that it will be available for free on PC “across the majority of regions worldwide.”
What is ‘Valorant?’
Players familiar with strategic shooters like “Overwatch” and “Counter Strike” will feel right at home with “Valorant.”
The new title is a 5v5 team-based game. One side attacks, trying to plant and detonate a bomb. The other team defends and must prevent a detonation. It’s a formula that is now tried-and-true in the gaming world.
However, “Valorant” takes things a step further. Its various heroes have customizable skills that can only be perfected with time and practice. Each one introduces various twists to the game, ensuring that no two matches play out the same way. “Valorant,” simply, is the type of game that keeps players coming back match after match.
Due to that addictiveness, it is already becoming an esports sensation. Some big-name players have already announced their intentions to leave their current game and transition to pro “Valorant” teams once the game releases. Like “League of Legends,” “Valorant” is the perfect style of game to thrive in an esports setting.
When it launches in June, “Valorant” will be free to play. Like most games following that format, players will be able to acquire a variety of items via in-game microtransactions. It’s a profitable strategy for Riot that simultaneously hooks new players with no upfront commitment.
Sadly, the closed beta will end on May 28 so the development team can make final preparations for the game’s launch.
Marketing at its Best
Most video games have an uphill battle to face as they try to draw in new players and gain a positive reputation. At its launch, “Valorant” won’t have to do so. It has already amassed a huge fanbase, which is particularly impressive since most of those fans haven’t even had the chance to play it yet.
The game entered a closed beta on April 7. On that same day, it broke a Twitch streaming record. More than 1.7 million people tuned in to watch a combined 34 million hours of “Valorant” streams. That’s the second-highest figure of all time, lagging only behind “League of Legends” and the 1.73 million people who watched its 2019 World Championship. Notably, Riot is also the developer behind “League.”
At the time of this writing, there are more than 209,000 people watching “Valorant” streams. That’s more than those watching streams of hit games like “Call of Duty,” “Minecraft,” and “Counter Strike.”
Part of that attraction is due to the fact that Riot originally gave lucky viewers access to the “Valorant” beta as they tuned in to watch streams on Twitch. Thanks to this clever strategy, the game will launch into a thriving community that eagerly awaits its arrival. When “Valorant” finally launches on June 2, it will only grow in popularity.