Not that it should come as a surprise to anyone, but Riot Games has plans for Valorant as an esport. In a blog post today, Senior Director of Global Esports Whalen “Magus” Rozelle laid out the company’s top-level plans for Valorant competitive play, “to build an esport worthy of your lifelong attention and interest.”
Riot’s three guiding principles in this matter are competitive integrity, accessibility, and authenticity. The first represents the attempt for every aspiring pro to have an equal chance of making it big through their skill alone while minimizing “external factors” — presumably things like the power of their computer or their location. The second entails welcoming players of all wakes to the game and broadcasts, whether they’re highly skilled or not.
The third factor calls out how Riot hopes to build the Valorant esports scene alongside the community. As Rozelle put it:
“We want to let VALORANT grow naturally; we’re not looking to force anything too quickly without knowing what’s best for esports fans. As such, a primary focus early on will be forming partnerships with players, content creators, tournament organizers, and developers—unlocking them to help us to build this ecosystem.”
Competitive guidelines have also been provided, laying out the framework for tournaments of all sizes, as well as the rules that tournament organizers will need to follow for Riot’s blessing. The usual restrictions apply, some based on the size of the event, such as the ability to use “Valorant” (but not “Riot Games”) in your tournament description and sponsorship restrictions — no gambling, alcohol, political organizations, other game companies, etc.
One rule that’s causing a bit of a stir is the requirement that broadcasted tournaments must toggle off “Show Blood” in the game’s settings. While that’s sure to annoy some purists, it’s not that unusual of a move, especially for an organization that’s trying to gather mainstream support for its big events — especially considering the restrictions on blood in video games in China, where Riot certainly hopes to establish an esports presence with Valorant.