- Riot is pioneering the VALORANT Game Changers initiative to include more women in esports
- The initiative will extend to marginalized genders in general, with the VCT Game Changers kicking off in March and launching in several regions
- There will be two competitive structures known as Game Changers and VCT Game Changers Academy
Riot Games is taking a more inclusive approach towards its competitive VALORANT community with the introduction of a dedicated women and marginalized gender esports initiative.
Women and Marginalized Genders in Competitive Valorant
Riot Games is upping the ante for competitive VALORANT. When the game first released in June 2020, amid a Twitch beta key hype, developers vowed they would never interfere in VALORANT’s growth.
They said they would only steer what VALORANT accumulates organically as a fan base. Well, with VALORANT’s player base rising healthily, Riot Games is stepping in to introduce the VALORANT Champions Tour’s latest initiative, the VCT Game Changers.
The company is creating a competitive circuit focusing specifically on women and marginalized genders within the esports ecosystem. Riot hopes that it would reach deserving individuals and make them a part of the highest tiers of competitive VALORANT.
As a demographic, women and other genders, apart from men, are underrepresented in any competitive gaming community. Riot, though, will seek to change this. The new campaign has been in the works since the ‘For the Women Summer Showdown’ Ignition Series, a precursor event to more equality in the competitive video gaming scene.
Organic growth here will be bolstered by Riot, who will put their esports savants to the fore and develop the ecosystem so it may expand further as a natural part of the VALORANT community.
Commenting on the initiative, Riot Senior Director of Esports Whalen Rozell said that Game Changers would allow women the opportunity to take their gaming beyond the “competitive ladder play.” Rozell said that Riot is committed to creating safe gaming opportunities for women where they do not need to fear gender-based harassment.
Competing on Equal Footing
There will be two separate structures within the VCT, the Game Changers series, as well as the VCT Game Changers Academy, loosely modeled after the Overwatch League, to the extent that one is a feeder league.
The VCT Game Changers will bring the highest level of competitive play, and it will take place in several regions this year. The first stop for the series is North America in March and Riot expects to repeat the success of the Ignition Series.
VCT Game Changers Academy will focus on up-and-coming players who are either not too serious about their gaming or not yet there. To see this opportunity through, Riot Games is teaming up with Galorants, which is one of the largest VALORANT communities. Galorants will be in charge of the Academy.
VALORANT executive producer Anna Donlon welcomed the initiative, arguing that competing in VALORANT could be a daunting experience as a woman. She confirmed that Riot is ever-committed to taking on griefing and other community-related issues, but in the interim, the company had a chance to scale up the experience to be more inclusive.
More details about the VCT Game Changers are forthcoming.