Why Valorant Has Lost Popularity So Quickly
Valorant’s closed beta phase was by far the most successful endeavor of such kind! Riot Games hit the sweet spot and, thanks in most part to Twitch, turned it into a worldwide phenomenon. Their beta key drops system was hailed as the ultimate hype machine; it massively exceeded everyone’s expectations with an unparalleled audience reach. However, little did we know it would backfire on everything and everyone involved with the game. Valorant popularity was through the roof during the closed beta… nowadays, not so much.
What went wrong? What was the force that totally demolished Valorant popularity and desecrated its player base? Was it Riot Games’ fault or was it something else entirely? Well, all that and more is what you’ll be reading in the rest of this blog!
Valorant Popularity 101: What Made it Skyrocket
Closed beta key drops were definitely a part of Valorant’s massive success very early on. However, they weren’t the only factor! They were the key factor, but not the only one. Let’s talk about that!
At the very start of its Twitch lifecycle, Valorant had more than 148 million hours watched. That number represents the total time watched in the first week. That’s right, one week – seven days, boys and girls! The reason behind this wasn’t just the beta key Twitch incentives – there’s more to it than just that.
A part of Closed Beta Valorant popularity has to go down on the lockdown. Back in April, the world was in total lockdown mode. Social distancing measures were at their maximum with the disease slowly beginning to spread across the American and European continents.
Back then, all we could do was sit at home and play/watch video games. Valorant’s closed beta had the perfect timing – it was marked for success right off the bat!
Valorant is an esports-first kind of a game, even more so than, let’s say, Overwatch. While that could jeopardize its popularity with casual gamers, its esports-focused community ought to keep thriving. And that’s what’s so interesting about Valorant. It’s one of the most interesting concepts the industry has seen thus far, and I for one think it could still succeed.
“As for whether Valorant can make up for a potential lack of mainstream popularity with its esports-first approach, the enduring popularity of CSGO is a strong precedent in its favor. It suggests Riot could similarly cultivate a sizable, albeit more niche, community of players that follow its pro circuit closely and help keep it healthy and lucrative.”By Nick Statt, The Verge Reporter / News Editor
Don’t get me wrong – Valorant’s learning curve isn’t that steep. Casuals will still be able to enjoy the game, but not nearly as much as their more hardcore counterparts.
What’s the best way to describe what Valorant was going for with their esports-first concept? Well, they’ve basically taken the good old game of CSGO and used it as a base for modernizing the genre. Nowadays, most top-notch FPS games heavily rely on the success of their esports endeavors, which is why Riot Games pushed Valorant in this direction.
From the business perspective, the esports-first focus is going to help Valorant stand out among newcomers. While the game’s numbers are still in a downward spiral, investors don’t seem too worried. Valorant’s esports scene is flourishing with money being pumped in all across the board.
All in all, the esports-first focus is an interesting concept, to say the least. It’s not the first esports-first game out there, but it’s the one that has captivated the most attention. With that in mind, it’s safe to say this interesting concept helped shape Valorant popularity and eliminate (or at least alleviate) some of its teething issues.
Stay-at-home orders combined with Riot Games’ innovative esports-first concept yielded good results early on. However, Valorant popularity would not have skyrocketed if it wasn’t for its gameplay. Let’s face it – Valorant gameplay is absolutely addictive! No matter if you’re playing casual, competitive or Spike Rush games – the experience is thrilling from start to finish.
For those of you who are not in the know, Valorant is sort of like a mixture of CSGO and Overwatch. It takes all the best things from both titles; short TTK (time to kill) mechanics and map-based gameplay from CSGO; several playable characters with unique abilities from Overwatch. There are minor aspects/mechanics borrowed from other games too, but CSGO and Overwatch roots are recognizable right off the bat.
The Story Behind Valorant Popularity Decline
So, what went so terribly wrong? What cursed factor played a key role in Valorant popularity decline?
Well, I reckon we shouldn’t look at it that way! I mean, no one really expected Valorant to keep its pre-release Twitch numbers. Those numbers were inflated with a good reason – to create hype! Riot Games knew right from the off the numbers would crash post-release.
What they didn’t know is how the pandemic would affect everything in the esports scene, but now that the situation is slowly stabilizing, we might see some moves out there. Fingers crossed we finally see a Valorant LAN event – that would give us a lot of answers, no doubt about it!
Rapid Decrease in Twitch Viewership
At the time of writing this blog, Valorant had just above 48,000 live viewers, with an average 7-day viewership capped at 66,616 across close to 3,000 average channels. Let’s put things into perspective:
- In April 2020, Valorant had 479k average concurrent viewers.
- In May 2020, Valorant had $195k average concurrent viewers.
Valorant was released in June 2020, and had roughly 77K average concurrent viewers that month. The bad trend continued until October when it dipped to just above 50k. Thus far, November has been pretty solid with cca 66K viewers, but there’s still plenty of time to go until December. The number may drop; although it’s likely to grow till the end of the year. Valorant First Strike series are a hot topic these days – they ought to attract plenty of viewership.
Short-Term Effects Are… Short-Term
Valorant was never going to keep its closed beta popularity. It’s was never going to happen, guys – deal with it! However, it’s still a fairly popular game. It’s too early in its life cycle to be giving pragmatic conclusions about its course. What we’ve seen thus far is that Valorant still possesses massive potential.
Many prominent members of the esports sphere believe the best is yet to come for Riot Games’ tactical first-person shooter. Shroud believes Valorant is going to hit big and hit hard!
I share the same belief, and here’s why: