Women have already been participating in the eSports events and are long-existing members of various gaming communities since before the introduction of Valorant, the 5v5 character-based tactical shooter. But contrary to their stark and collective existence, it is globally believed that the eSports scene primarily consists of men young and old.
The same is untrue in the current days, where women constitute anywhere between 30% to 40% of the Valorant player base. Besides, games like COD, PUBG, League of Legends, etc., also have teams of women who compete no less than men or better.
How then does Valorant get crowned for supporting women into entering the eSports scene?
Promoting Women Since Valorant Launch
Riot was previously accused of sexism regarding not hiring women for its senior leadership positions. It established Riot as a giant in the Gaming Industry that opposes equality and as an organization that showed negligence regarding such social issues.
The launch of Valorant changed this for Riot since the seniors and developers both wanted to create a system that promoted women into the eSports scenarios. So, Riot established a Valorant Game Changers Academy, which offers training to female players and provides them with equal opportunities to compete at the semi-pro levels. Their participation can later help them enter the global pro tournaments.
In September 2020, merely three months after the game’s official launch, Valorant hosted “For the Women Summer Showdown” to invite interested players of genders beyond men to participate and emerge victoriously.
Valorant Champions Tour
In February 2021, Valorant announced its Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Game Changers eSports event. Riot launched the tournament to support the skilled player base of women and other genders by offering them the opportunity to participate in a global eSports event.
Riot believes that such a tournament and similar events will create a safe environment for women to compete professionally without fearing gender or identity-based harassment. Furthermore, such events are believed to offer experience, training, and mentorship to women eSports personalities who were previously largely excluded from the global competitive scenario.
Learning from its past mistakes, Riot’s Valorant presently boasts eight female agents. It perfectly balances its 16 agent roster with the rest being males and even robots, thereby reflecting its adoption to equality. Such an arrangement also allows women to feel more inclusive in a large gaming industry that essentially alienates them.
Players can play as agents like Astra, Sage, Raze, Viper, Killjoy, Skye, Reyna, and Jett. Each of them possesses daunting unique abilities enough to challenge the remaining agent’s neck to neck or support them toe to toe.
The measures adopted by Riot for Valorant to promote women into eSports are not merely shallow or of an aesthetic nature. After the launch of valorant, numerous female gamers have found their fanbase by streaming their Valorant gameplay on sites like Twitter, Youtube, etc. Global eSports teams have also reportedly signed female players to represent their teams in the VCT Game Changers and other series.
The Cloud 9 White that recently became the victor of the VCT Game Changers is a fine example of a female competitive eSports scenario developing substantially. A total of 16 teams competed for the title, and more such events are planned to occur further throughout the year.