2021 is a big year for competitive Valorant, with developer Riot kicking off an ambitious, yearlong esports circuit called . But the company is also looking to make the scene more diverse with a separate competition called VCT Game Changers, which it says will “create competitive opportunities for women and marginalized genders within Valorant.”
The program will include a series of “top tier” competitions throughout 2021, but perhaps more important is an academy series designed to foster new talent. Here’s how Riot describes it:
Women-centric esports competitions , as the scene is still largely male-dominated across the biggest games, whether it’s League of Legends, , or . But as a relatively new game, having launched last year, Valorant is in a potentially good place to cultivate a more diverse player base. In fact, there are already positive signs; when esports organization Evil Geniuses entered the professional Valorant scene, it did so with a mixed-gender roster.
“Competing in games as a woman can be a daunting task, oftentimes resulting in a very real competitive disadvantage,” Valorant executive producer Anna Donlon said in a statement. “While we’re addressing this challenge in-game, with improvements to chat, voice communications, and mitigation of griefing, we also see an opportunity to take another step with esports.”
Riot says the program will be a “year-long effort.”