From Jay ‘sinatraa’ Won to Jaryd ‘Summit1g’ Lazar. Why are players and streamers going pro or thinking of going pro in Valorant?
There are a plethora of reasons why Valorant is gaining so much attention right now from the creative direction of Riot to the lack of a true FPS team shooter. Yes, there is Overwatch, COD, and Rainbow 6 but none of those games provide the true team based game-play that CS:GO provides.
Overwatch does fit the bill but the ever changing metas and the now 2-2-2 composition requirements forces even the most skilled players to play something they may not be used to playing. Imagine playing CS, Quake, Unreal, Halo, and then playing Overwatch. The game is fantastic on many levels but if you are a pro that is forced into a Tank/Healer role, you may not be completely fulfilled. Reinhardt, a main tank in Overwatch, is a prime example of a "boring" role. For 60 percent of matches, your main goal is to hold up a shield to protect your team. Every so often you will throw out a fire strike or dash in and try to smash the opponent with your war hammer. But for the majority of the match, you are a walking shield. There is a tremendous amount of skill involved even though it may not seem like it but imaging being a pro and practicing this 6 days a week and 10 hours a day.
Valorant does have agents with special abilities that play various roles. However, even the healer agent Sage can have the same weapon as your front-line agent. So even if you are a support or control role, you can let your tactical skills shine. Valorant is a pure shooter at heart like CS:GO but with a bit of Overwatch abilities sprinkled in.
CS:GO did, and still does, fulfill that need/niche, but it has become stagnant and harder to compete in. Many CS:GO players typically turn to streaming instead of playing competitive for a bit more flexibility. Once Valve develops the Source 2 engine, CS might be born again.
The majority of the shooter style games that have come out in the last 5 years have been Battle Royale games. Battle Royal games don't have a very extensive, organized esports community and the community is slightly toxic and disorganized. All games will have some level of player toxicity, but it seems games like Fortnite and PUBG have a bit more than usual.
Riot is a well known and established company that is built for esports and their games are known to have a huge following and be extremely competitive.
Keep in mind that we are still in a closed beta and we have professional teams forming and various players already switching over to Valorant. Every disgruntled professional gamer or bored professional streamer may want to jump at the opportunity to get in early and establish themselves in a game that is going to be big.
Big games with many players equals many viewers on Twitch, YouTube, Mixer etc etc. So even if you play Valorant and aren't very good, with the right amount of grinding and luck, you might be able to create a following for yourself if you have the right personality. It might not be going pro, but it might provide you some side cash or a modest living.
Think of Valorant as a new stock. Good chance of success since the team behind the stock is solid. Always best to get in early. It is a form of gaming arbitrage.
Sinatraa is an extreme example. I would imagine if you were one of the best players in your game, you would stick around since you were getting paid a six figure salary + endorsements. It is rare for a top of the line player to suddenly leave to pick up another game but it seems that Overwatch just didn't bring enough joy for him to stick around.
Many lower tier pro players are switching over to Valorant, as well. That is expected. Other games including Overwatch and Rainbow 6 just don't have the stream numbers and lower tier players make little to no money so it is best to try something new.
Will someone like Summit1g actually go pro again in Valorant after being a pro streamer for so long? He mentioned that Valorant got his "competitive" juices going but it is highly doubtful. The top line streamers like Shroud and Summit1g make so much more streaming that the effort to go pro probably isn't worth it for them.
We expect Valorant to be enormous. Free to play, low system requirements, and tons of hype all fuel its popularity. Until Valve releases Source 2 and polishes a new version of Counter-Strike, Valorant will be the game to beat in terms of popularity and esports competitiveness.