The competitive VALORANT scene is celebrating diversity in gaming as Riot Games announces a tournament for marginalised players.
Since its release in 2020, VALORANT has wasted no time bursting onto the first-person shooter scene and monopolising the esports scene with the likes of the First Strike tournament, Ignition Series, and Champions Tour. As the game enters its second full year and the Champions Tour tackles the second month of its year-long calendar of events, Riot Games is celebrating the diversity of its playerbase with a tournament aimed specifically at marginalised players.
The aim is for a tournament that is an offshoot of the VALORANT Champions Tour, that will specifically give women and other marginalised genders an opportunity to take part in a competitive tournament in a safe environment. We're already seen Riot try to move away from the largely male stereotype of esports by featuring the male (Blue) Cloud9 team and female (White) Cloud9 team. Now, VALORANT is expanding its plans for diversity further.
What is the VALORANT tournament for marginalised players?
On February 23, Riot announced the VCT Game Changers Series, which will go hand in hand with the Champions Tour. This supplementary season has the sole aim to give "women and other marginalised genders" the chance to compete and show what they can do to a wider audience. The VCT offshoot will be split into two tiers, known as the VCT Game Changers Series, and the VCT Game Changers Academy.
According to Riot, the Game Changers Series will be a multi-regional competition that will be "similar in scale" to 2020's Ignition Series. The Game Changers Academy is part of a partnership with Galorant, which works to promote those at a semi-pro and grassroots level. This is the latest of Galorant's competitive partnerships with the game after September's For The Women Summer Showdown.
Discussing the tournament, Senior Director of esports at Riot Games, Whalen "Magus" Rozelle, said: "The competitive Valorant community is both diverse and incredibly global, and our esport should reflect that. Through Game Changers, we hope to build towards a Valorant Champions Tour that is more inclusive and representative of our community". His words were echoed by Anna "SuperCakes" Donlon, Executive Producer of VALORANT.
Donlon says she wants to "elevate" women in gaming and added, "Competing in games as a woman, can be a daunting task, often times resulting in a very real competitive disadvantage. 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".
The VCT Game Changers Series will kick off in North America this March and expand as the year goes on. VALORANT is trying to lead the way for marginalised players with its tournaments, and hopefully, other big games will follow suit.
Images via Riot Games