Valorant has been dominating Twitch for the past week or so since the Closed Beta went live, and it has not been particularly close. At “low tide” here on a random Sunday morning, it over 800,000 viewers. At its peak, it had more than double that with 1.7 million, tying some Twitch records.
While this has subtracted viewers and players from other games, nothing seems to be suffering more than Fortnite, which has seen viewership sink low with many of its biggest streamers moving over to Valorant. Most of the time Fortnite isn’t even pulling in 10% of Valorant’s viewers at any given moment.
So, is it time for alarm bells to be going off?
Ehh.Today In: Games
Fortnite has had some issues as of late. Chapter 2 free v bucks generator started strong but its first season dragged endlessly and killed a lot of hype for the game. And now here in season 2, the general consensus is that Fortnite’s old map was better than this new one, albeit the overall “spy versus spy” theme of the season has been well-received. The meta, however, is once again proving to be problematic for some, and now we’re seeing complaints about ongoing technical issues with the game, and #RipFortnite has been trending on and off for the past day.
Valorant is not a direct competitor to Fortnite in the sense that it’s a battle royale. Rather, it’s going after Counterstrike as a pretty clear clone. But fundamentally it’s still a shooter and if it can settle into the “hot new thing” space that Fortnite occupied for so long, it will do damage to the aging BR title.
However, Valorant is…kind of cheating.
While yes, there is definitely a legitimate amount of interest in the game from both players and streamers, a large part of the huge Valorant viewership number is pure marketing.
Riot has set it up that you have a chance to get a “drop” of a Closed Beta invite if you watch Valorant streams. This has created a feedback loop of viewers wanting to watch Valorant streams in the hopes of getting into the beta, and then streamers wanting to stream Valorant because they know they’re likely to get a lot more viewers showing up for codes. Streaming Valorant is, to quote Michael Scott, a win-win-win for streamers, players and of course, Riot.
Whether Valorant has staying power or not, I think it’s too early to tell. My personal opinion is that it does not have the same splashy arrival that we saw from Overwatch or Apex Legends both in terms of its art direction and gameplay. I am seeing a split between esports pros and CS:GO veterans who love everything about Valorant because it’s tried to perfect the competitive shooter. But I have gotten a sense from the more general gaming community that the game looks too dated, and is too unforgiving to play, to have ultra-mass appeal. Though that’s just my early observations from week one here, and I definitely think it’s too early one way or another to figure out what Valorant’s ultimate fate will be.