As things currently stand in the esports industry, the fps genre can indeed feel a tad bit overcrowded, especially after Valorant popped into the scene.
Riot's new shooter had its work cut out for it from the earliest stages of the closed beta. And with behemoths such as Overwatch, Rainbow Six: Siege, and CS: GO already dominating the scene, it seemed impossible for Valorant to reach the level of notoriety that it enjoys today.
Not only has the game been able to break some prevalent Twitch streaming records, but it has been going incredibly strong across each region, with its very first major tournament 'First Strike' about to take place in the coming months.
So why has Valorant's meteoric rise been as successful as it has even with games like CS: GO and Overwatch playing gatekeeper?
Well, the answer to that is pretty simple, both Valve and Blizzard are hesitant and inactive when it comes to their shooters.
Blizzard's inactivity is Valorant's gain
Now don't get us wrong here. We aren't exactly saying that Overwatch and CS: GO are bad games and don't deserve a spot in the upper echelons of the esports food chain.
Each of them is still incredible and extremely fun to play, and even with the mass CS: GO to Valorant exodus, the former remains one of the most popular shooters in the world.
It just comes down to marketing and how the devs respond to cropping issues with their respective IPs.
Riot has been pretty active with their shooter, ironing out every bump ever since Valorant's closed beta launched in May. And one of the significant ways of how the devs make the game more approachable is by constantly monitoring and replying to community feedback.
Take this melee cosmetic controversy, for example. Riot has been criticized for recently launching skin bundles, which though expensive, offered no VFX for the melee weapon.
And Valorant fans went down a deep and long Reddit chain, discussing this very aspect, and surprisingly enough Riot responded, and even asked for feedback.
Riot's Ask Valorant initiative is another big step by the devs to make the players feel more involved.
Riot is in a constant process of fixing the game to maintain its competitive integrity. They even disabled Killjoy during the Faze Clan Invitational, as they were yet to playtest her for the competitive scene.
Blizzard, on the other hand, are notorious for bringing out game breaking patches and updates right before a major tournament, thereby completely destabilizing the strategies that the players had worked so hard to formulate.
Moreover, the Overwatch devs have a history of creating some of the most overpowered champions that completely destroyed the game.
Champions like Brigitte, Baptiste, and Moira have historically been the biggest sinners in Overwatch, and Bridgette still remains the most obnoxious character to play against. She introduced what is today termed as the GOAT meta, which was one of the major elements that destroyed Overwatch.
Instead of fixing their game, Blizzard chose to completely ignore the problems (not that they did not try to nerf Bridgette, it just didn't work) and decided to work on their next project, Overwatch 2.
Fans heavily criticized the Overwatch 2 reveal, and players believed that Blizzard should work on their previous title instead of creating a whole new one.
Valorant's Vanguard is better than VAC anti-cheat
It's no surprise that CS: GO has a hacking pandemic on its hands, and Valve doesn't really seem to care much for it. Hacking has become a million-dollar business in the CS: GO, and don't even get us started on the variety of match-fixing scandals that the shooter has seen in its lifetime.
Valorant's Vanguard, on the other hand, is incredibly strict and sophisticated. It's a kernel-level software that puts out HWID bans, thereby making cheating in Valorant incredibly expensive.
Third-party organizations like FACEIT and ESEA are doing a much better job than what Valve are, in trying to maintain competitive integrity.
It's the love and loyalty that players have towards CS: GO is what is keeping the shooter afloat at the moment, and is why it remains the more popular title than Valorant.
But that might not be the case if things continue the way they're. Valorant is growing, and it will take a series of extreme factors and harsh luck for its popularity to die down anytime soon.
Riot's strategy to heavily depend on player feedback is a gold mine that other shooters should honestly employ.