Riot Games just took a big step toward turning its team shooter Valorant into the next big competitive game. Today, the developer announced the Valorant Ignition Series, a competitive circuit with tournaments all over the world that will kick off later this week. Riot says that it has partnered with more than 20 major esports organizations for the initiative, and things will begin on June 19th with two competitions: the European G2 Esports Invitational and the Rage Valorant Japan Invitational. Additional tournaments are expected to be announced in the coming days.
Valorant, a 5 versus 5 tactical shooter, only launched on June 2nd, though that was preceded by a closed beta period that proved exceptionally popular. Since the game was announced, much has been made of its potential as an esport; not only does it combine elements of Overwatch and Counter-Strike, two of the biggest competitive games, but it also comes from the same developer behind League of Legends, one of the most enduring and globally popular esports.
“Our partnership with Riot has helped make the European League of Legends community the force it is today and contributed to the success of the [League of Legends European Championship], and I have no doubt that we will do the same for Valorant,” G2 esports CEO Carlos Rodriguez said in a statement.
Even before Riot made any official announcements about the competitive scene, teams and players flocked to the game, including reigning Overwatch League MVP Jay “Sinatraa” Won. While there have been a handful of Valorant tournaments to date, hosted by the likes of Twitch and ESPN, the Ignition Series is the first with Riot’s direct involvement.
“Riot Games will support Ignition Series events with amplification through our channels, a dedicated page with an updated schedule, and sharing lessons between tournament organizers to improve the experience week over week,” the developer said in a blog post. “We’ve already learned so much from community and organizer feedback, and we’re actively working with the development team on features that will help make it easier to watch as well as opportunities that will provide a level of competition beyond the ranked system. You’ll continue to see us increase our support for esports to ensure that both the amateur and professional scenes flourish.”
Riot appears to be particularly focused on making sure the Valorant competitive scene is a global one. The developer says it plans to feature tournaments in North America, Brazil, Latin America, Korea, Japan, South East Asia, Oceania, Europe, Russia, Turkey, and the Middle East