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Riot Games introduces new VALORANT esports structure

A match of Tekken 7 at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Esports was a medal event at the regional games which featured mostly traditional sports., tags: riot - CC BY-SA

The esports scene has evolved rapidly in the last few years, with players becoming stars on a global scale. The prize money given in esports competition also makes it an attractive career choice. With both League of Legends and VALORANT being among the most-watched events in the industry, Riot Games has made esports a key priority.

In a recent statement, Riot discussed some of its plans for VALORANT’s future in esports for the remainder of the year and into 2023. There have been some substantial changes to the game’s esports structure.

According to the video game developer and publisher, the professional stage for VALORANT will see a transformation next year, with domestic and international leagues rolling out in 2023. There will also be a new game mode designed to support aspiring esports stars to turn pros.

What will change

The new structure is developed to create more global opportunities for players to compete with one another. For international leagues, Riot will host major tournaments with teams from Asia, America, and Europe. The events will take place over LAN with live audiences while adhering to Covid-19 protocols.

Additionally, a new competitive mode will make it possible for the best regular players to stand out even more by participating in the esports ecosystem.

With the upcoming mode, players will have an opportunity to participate in domestic leagues, which will be connected with the in-game tournament feature. Using the path-to-pro mode, Riot said it expected to scout out the next generation of talents.

Furthermore, players will be able to take part in domestic and third-party leagues that will run alongside competitive mode. As a result of these competitions, rising stars can gain recognition and make their way into competitive teams.

The three international leagues will be composed of the best teams from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia and Oceania. The plan is to run competitive games on a weekly basis. These leagues will serve as qualifying matches for the current premier global tournaments, Masters, and Champions. Teams will be brought together for in-person events with live audiences following health and safety protocols.

Additionally, Riot will expand VALORANT Game Changers, a program geared towards women and other marginalized groups within the competitive ecosystem. This program will expand to more countries and regions next year. In the meantime, third-party tournaments are scheduled for the off-season between official competitions.

Teams participating in the program will not be charged participation or entry fees, and Riot will compensate them “in return for their investment in growing the ecosystem”.

The publisher said they were leveraging their experience from the success of League of Legends to restructure the professional scene of VALORANT, which has grown to have 15 million monthly players.

“We’ll use everything we learned from the past 10 years with LoL esports to build an ecosystem that will supercharge VALORANT into the next great multigenerational esports,” Riot Head of Esports John Needham told The Washington Post in a statement.

Riot Games said that it hoped to make VALORANT a vibrant esports that would engage players, fans, and other parties through live tournaments and broadcasts.