VALORANT Makes Major Strides in the Philippines This Year
Esports has an interesting way of spreading across the globe. Many people learn about esports online or via social media, which causes it to spread to new geographic regions and communities.
VALORANT is a perfect example of this phenomenon, as it has caught on in a place that many people did not expect at the beginning.
The Southeast Asia (SEA) region makes up a large part of VALORANT's main demographic, which has allowed the game to grow to the size it is now.
Over the course of a month, over 14 million people log into the world of VALORANT- and it shows in the game's status. VALORANT has quickly risen to the top of the esports food chain, becoming a staple in the FPS genre.
VALORANT Begins Growing in the Philippines
While it is interesting that the SEA region has caught on to VALORANT so much, it's even more exciting that the Philippines has shown a marked interest in the game. The Philippines is an interesting location for esports to catch on, especially since its population largely enjoys gaming and streaming.
In a 2020 report from Newzoo, it was found that 43 million people take up gaming in the Philippines. Because of this staggering number, it is home to the 25th biggest market for gaming in the world.
Newzoo's report also showed that 63% of the gaming audience in the Philippines watches streamers and other online content, which is a huge reason why VALORANT succeeded in the way it did.
Success Despite the Odds
A large part of VALORANT's marketing in the Philippines consisted of streamable content, which could be viewed on platforms across the internet. Streaming was the perfect way for people to connect during last year's lockdown efforts when real-life venues were closed.
Many Riot employees were worried about the effects the lockdown would have on VALORANT's fledgling community.
In the SEA region, a large percentage of the population plays games and socializes at internet cafes, which were shuttered during the lockdown. During this time, SEA players went to platforms like Twitch and YouTube to discover new games.
VALORANT's success is also unusual for the SEA region because it breaks the mould of games that are traditionally popular there.
VALORANT Breaks the Mould
In this region, MOBAs like League of Legends usually see success. FPS is a growing genre in this area, but with competition from titles like CounterStrike: Global Offensive, it can be hard to stand out. VALORANT rose to this challenge, directly competing with CS:GO's audience.
Since VALORANT is a different experience altogether from CS:GO, it was able to stand out and thrive in the Philippines and SEA region. Thanks to the game's magical elements and player-focused development, it has broken the mould of the military or war-themed FPS games.
Scholarships for Filipino Players
The Philippines is the perfect microcosm to see the success and reach VALORANT has on a local community.
The country's thriving esports economy gave the game the perfect opportunity to grow- and grow it did. Now, the game is making waves in the area, so much so that scholarships are even offered for students that play VALORANT professionally.
AcadArena typically offers VALORANT scholarships to college students in the Philippines. They also host a myriad of tournaments and competitions, which help extend the game's reach in the SEA region.
Filipino Players on the World Stage
This fall, AcadArena is hosting the University Alliance Cup VALORANT Season 3, which begins on August 20. The competition kicks off with group play, which lasts until September 17. After the group play phase ends, the playoffs are set to happen, which will run until October 3.
This event is highly anticipated by fans of esports in the region, who will watch their favourite professionals battle for the title of VALORANT Master.
These competitions are also a great time for the Philippines teams to strut their stuff for the rest of the world, giving young professionals in the country their time to shine. It also establishes the country as an esports powerhouse, showcasing its interest in VALORANT, along the way.
VALORANT on the World Stage
The University Alliance Cup isn't the only competition that VALORANT players in the Philippines anticipate this year. The 2021 VALORANT Masters competition in Berlin is another contest that players in the Philippines are hoping to compete in this year.
Three Filipino VALORANT teams will represent the country in the playoffs leading up to the contest. They will battle against other teams in the SEA region, where the top two teams will head on to Germany to compete in the Masters.
Fans are already starting to bet on which teams will take the crown in the competition, which is set to begin on August 19.
Future Ambitions for VALORANT
With all of these contests and plenty of social media hype, it's easy to see that the Philippines has embraced VALORANT and its community.
While many North American and European players doubted the games' relevance, the SEA region has proven that VALORANT is a worthy competitor to titles like CS:GO and Fortnite. While the game still has a long way to go, it has made a lot of strides in the region, particularly the Philippines.
Riot executives are surprised, but also excited, about VALORANT's climb to the top in the Philippines. The game's popularity comes at an odd time, especially with the closure of internet cafes and local hangouts. VALORANT's success proves that with innovative marketing and a vibrant community, a game can find success despite the odds.
With the world more connected than ever before, it will be interesting to see the direction VALORANT will take in years to come. After already breaking records in the SEA region, VALORANT's future in the Philippines is looking bright.