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VALORANT to gain more popularity in 2023, beats CSGO’s viewership

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Niko Partners founder and president Lisa Cosmas Hanson said Riot Game’s tactical shooting game VALORANT would gain more popularity in 2023, especially with the upcoming launch of its mobile version.

Hanson said that the mobile esports market was dominated by Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) and battle royale titles. She, however, said that the conventional team-based shooters would lead the mobile esports growth in 2023.

“Call of Duty Mobile is already establishing itself as a top mobile shooter esports title and we believe VALORANT Mobile will do the same when it releases,” Hanson said. “VALORANT has already become the #1 PC esports title in Asia by a number of tournaments in 2022.”

In the recent decade, Asia has become a large market for mobile gaming. Because esports is a significant industry in Asia, VALORANT is expected to be more successful in this region because of its esports-centric characteristics.

So far, Riot has not released an exact date for the VALORANT mobile’s release. Throughout 2022, however, reports said that Riot conducted alpha/beta testing for VALORANT in China.

The Chinese National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) has already approved VALORANT’s release in China this year, with the game being called Mystery Covenant.

Analysts said that entering the Chinese market could further expand the franchise’s growth beyond the esports scene.

VALORANT beats CSGO’s viewership

Coming from the same first-person shooter genre, fans have long considered VALORANT a solid competitor for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. CSGO always topped the viewership chart on Twitch for years.

According to Twitch analytics SullyGnome, however, VALORANT was the most-watched game in the FPS category last year with a peak viewership of 1,197,406.

More than 4,000 channels streamed VALORANT and gained global viewers. VALORANT fans also followed Riot’s official channel and affiliated streamers to watch games in 2022.

SullyGnome said the popularity of VALORANT on Twitch even exceeded Apex Legends, Elden Ring and Fortnite.

Considering there were many popular titles in 2022, VALORANT’s achievement was considered exceptional by analysts. They said that VALORANT benefitted from Riot’s new approach to drawing worldwide fans, which was by holding numerous tournaments throughout the year.

Riot provided chances for many third-party VALORANT tournaments to commence during the off-season. In the second half of 2022, many organizers held VALORANT events in various countries, which significantly boosted the game’s popularity among esports enthusiasts.

In addition to Twitch, fans could stream the tournaments on YouTube and several other platforms.

Overall game industry predictions for 2023

The global gaming industry’s value declined last year. According to Niko Partners’ estimates, the gaming industry gained $175.7 billion on video games — excluding hardware, real money gaming and ad revenues — in 2022. It was a 5.6 percent decline compared to 2021.

Despite the revenue decline, Hanson argued that the gaming industry would display robust performance in 2023 due to some significant growths noted in the market last year.

India, the fastest-growing gaming market in Asia, saw a 32 percent annual increase in video game spending for mobile and PC games.

Although recently many game developers plans to launch their games on blockchain spheres, experts predict blockchain gaming will cool down this year. Developers will have difficulty securing the funding necessary for the ecosystem launch.

It is related to the uncertain macroeconomic environment in 2023, with many economists predicting a global recession. While a recession is not expected to affect the entire gaming industry, investors will likely refrain from investing in high-risk crypto projects.

Furthermore, the market’s skepticism in crypto and blockchain has increased due to several bankruptcy cases involving crypto companies in 2022.

The gaming industry will see many new inventions due to increased efficiency in game development. The use of artificial intelligence in game development will be more prominent this year.