There is growing unrest in the Valorant esports scene concerning the payment of casters as well as players.
Recently, many casters from previously held tournaments have come forward with concurrent issues related to payment. Imbalanced budgeting leading to casters not being paid is a growing concern.
For Valorant esports to be a coexisting biome, there has to be stability in all aspects.
Monetary issues affecting Valorant casting
Overwatch broadcaster Andrew Rush shed light on this matter with his recent tweet, enlightening the whole community about the growing issue. Soon, tournament organizers replied with their perspectives.
A YouTube channel recently covered the whole idea of underpayment and caster issues revolving around Valorant’s esports. Valoranting, presented by Do Not Peek Entertainment, explained all the elements in detail, in collaboration with Mitch Leslie, Alex Nguyen, and Loviel Cardwell.
Two of the most important points to be noted were:
- Region locking caster
- Underpayment of caster
Region locking talents does indeed place a massive roadblock in the quality of production. Casters around the community, irrespective of their place of residence, have voiced this matter.
The growing issue of not being able to comfortably work with other casters with whom they are used to casting for so long is something to ponder. Casters cannot function at their level of excellence if the team that they built for all these years gets ripped apart due to region locking.
One such duo is that of Vince and dusT. Right after the announcement of region locking talents, Vince tweeted, asking whether this was a joke. dusT followed with a less than enthusiastic take on this matter.
This move of region locking is understandable from Riot Game's perspective solely based on time management and immigration. Due to this, casters no longer have to cross countries and fit themselves in a different time zone to give their absolute best in their field of work.
However, it is quite depressing for NA casters as the gameplay standards of Valorant in NA are miles ahead of any other region. The Valorant casting scenario in NA is super-saturated, whereas there are only a handful of them in the EU or other regions. In terms of casting quality, NA feels like the work of absolute amateurs even though the gameplay is top-notch.
As for the payment issues, casters are not being paid, and even if they are, they are still willing to give their best for less than the minimum wage. This demotivates a caster whose sole passion is to watch their industry flourish.
Issues in organization management
An organization is as strong as the people giving their all to keep the family together. If everybody is not working to their fullest, nothing can be achieved. And that is where some organizations in Valorant esports lack clarity.
Recently, team Pheonix1 was disbanded, and the whole roster formed a new team named ex-Phoenix1. This domino effect started with the non-payment of the tournament earnings of their former player, Aiden “King” King. The organization withheld $1300 due to not having any written-up contract between the player and the organization.
A similar event saw BearClaw’s Valorant roster terminate contracts due to non-payment issues and not having a working support line.
Future of Valorant esports
In the long run, every successful individual faces some issue along the way. Judging by Valorant's age, its esports scene is almost as young as the game itself. Valorant's esports grew leaps and bounds, crossing all the bars set by critics, and it is still growing. Now is not a time to face such issues and backlash.
It is essential to give space for new blood to flourish, but the casters should be allowed to work with whom they choose. Also, Riot needs to be vocal about the matters of under-payment just for the sake of hosting tournaments and giving the limelight to those who need it.
Under-payment would eventually only bring down the quality, ending up with Valorant esports' progress lagging.
There is much to learn in controlling casting when it comes to Valve's way of handling it. The past decade of casting flourishing due to the overflow of hard-to-find talents saturating the esports market in both Dota 2 and CS: GO is an example in itself.