Overwatch’s Esports Foothold Slipping Because of Valorant
Ever since Blizzard moved into the FPS market in 2015 with one of the most innovative and iconic shooters of the generation, Overwatch has remained a staple of the Esports scene. With big competitions, huge prize pools and a large selection of talented teams and players that have kept audiences coming back for more at every time of asking. However, it seems that a new kid on the block is overshadowing the once unrivalled hero-based shooter. That new kid on the block is of course Riot Games creation, Valorant.
When this title was first announced, many cynical gamers were happy to write this one off as just another Overwatch clone like Paladins: Heroes of the Storm. However, since Valorant’s release, the title has went from strength to strength, forging a path to success and becoming a mainstay within the typical esports line-up of gaming titles, a feat that is very hard to achieve in this modern age of gaming.
Passing of The Torch To Valorant
This success has been a burden upon Blizzard as up until the release of their rival, Overwatch was unparalleled in the field of multiplayer FPS games, aside from perhaps Call of Duty. Yet now, Overwatch is chasing Valorant as it grows at an exponential rate and due to this, many Overwatch pros have flocked to the newer, fresher title.
In November 2019, Overwatch lost one of their marquee players in the form of Sinatraa. The former San Fransisco Shock player decided to switch to Valorant claiming that he “straight up lost the passion for Overwatch.” Then just days later began his assault on the Valorant Competitive scene where his skills have transferred over without much time needed to adapt. Other notable pros that have made the switch also include Babybay, Rawkus, Corey Nigra and HyP.
A Political Pitfall
It would be easy to argue that many of these players and fans have jumped ship purely due to the newer, slicker and more exciting gameplay on offer within Valorant. However, we wager that there have been other factors that have helped fans and pros alike make the switch. We are of course referring to the issues surrounding Blizzard and the effects that took place regarding the Hong Kong protests which began in late 2019.
Just as a reminder, in October 2019, Blizzard punished Hearthstone player ‘Blitzchung‘ for voicing his support for the Hong Kong protests during a live stream. This decision would provoke a negative response on a global scale leading to a mass boycott of all Blizzard products. These events would even lead to a letter from the US Congress.
So with these events in mind, it is fair to say that this could be a factor leading fans to jump ship. While gaming is meant to provide an escape from reality and be a fun, light-hearted pastime. Gamers are an outspoken and opinionated crowd unafraid to stand up for what they believe in. So it wouldn’t be all that surprising if many gamers moved to Valorant to spite the Overwatch developer.
Whatever the reason is regarding this change of power in the esports community. It is fair to say that each game has completely different trajectories at the moment. So it will be interesting to see how each title responds in the coming year.Overwatch – Standard Edition on PC is available for $15here, for all other Overwatch versions & platforms check here. You can also get Valorant Points Gift Cards – PC [Online Game Code] here.
So that’s our piece regarding Overwatch and Valorant. What do you think of the two waring factions? Do you think that Valorant is going to put Overwatch in the ground? Or do you think that both have their place in the esports community? Let us know in the comments section below. Plus, if you liked this, why not check out our piece on the BBC broadcasting the RLCS. Or maybe you’d prefer our news regarding Path of Exile II.