With the conclusion of the Valorant Ignition Series tournaments, Riot Games is finally gearing up to host its own Valorant events, which will be called First Strike.
In a recent developer video, Valorant executive producer Anna “SuperCakes” Donlon introduced John Needham, Global Head of Esports, and Whalen Rozelle, Senior Director of Global Esports at Riot Games as the two people will be leading Valorant’s esports efforts.
After calling Valorant the “fastest-growing esport”, Needham revealed that First Strike will be the first-ever tournament hosted by Riot Games. Rozelle then explained that the “event will provide the first opportunity for players in North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and other places around the world to earn the title of Valorant champion in their region.”
“Starting in October, merit-based qualifiers all over the world will begin narrowing down a field of competitors,” added Rozelle. “These events, leading up to the First Strike Finals event in December, will allow both established teams and amateur squads to showcase their greatness.”
Needham also disclosed that they’re “going to invest into expanding our broadcasting capabilities to build a best-in-class viewing experience.” He continued, “We’re pushing to develop new and innovative methods for you to engage with our sport. And we’ll continue to grow our internal teams, while partnering with leading experts to ensure Valorant becomes the genre-defining esport of its generation.”
Needham aims to grow Valorant to rival the scale of League of Legends’ massive esport ecosystem. And, with the introduction of the First Strike Tournament, Valorant might be a few events away from hosting its own Worlds.
In conclusion, Rozelle revealed that Valorant’s esports division is partnering with the game’s developers to create much-needed observer tool updates, as well as a round reset feature that will help competitive integrity.
Prior to Riot’s announcement of the First Strike tournament, all competitive Valorant teams had been focused on winning Ignition Series events, online events hosted by well-known tournament organizers in their respective regions.
Esports organizations around the world quickly formed their official teams and competed in these events to prove they’re the best in their regions. But the stakes weren’t that high, since teams were mainly competing for the lion share of Ignition Series events’ prize money.
With the First Strike Tournament’s qualifiers leading up to a huge Finals event set for December, however, Valorant fans might finally be able to witness highly-anticipated matches between teams like G2 Esports and Sentinels.
More details about the qualification process for the First Strike series are expected to be revealed later on.