Olivia R. June 10, 2020
Riot Games' new first-person shooter launched on June 2 as an already popular title thanks to a broadly promoted closed beta that ended just a few days before the game's release.
With support from the developers of League of Legends, it's no surprise that players were so eager to take on the new title, as Riot's track record suggests that Valorant will likely have immense competitive support along with ongoing patches and updates. A blend of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's tactical style and maps with Overwatch's more varied abilities, Valorant is a unique concept that combines mechanical skills with heavy teamwork and communication.
Players are already fascinated by the agents and the specific tricks and tips associated with each of their unique abilities. There's constant buzz around new agent Reyna, who was revealed before the game launched. While some closed beta players have expressed concern over the game's simplistic maps, there will definitely be more maps added now that the game is officially live.
But cutting through all of the buzz and promotion, just how many people are already playing Valorant?
How many people are playing Valorant?
There are no official numbers released being released by Riot Games when it comes to Valorant's current player count, but Riot did release some specifics for the closed beta, which ended May 28.
In a press release, the studio stated that "nearly 3 million players logged on each day to play Valorant" during its two-month beta testing period.
Keep in mind that the closed beta was limited to only a few regions, including North American and Europe, and was exclusive to PC. You could also only access the closed beta by receiving key drops given at random. Players had to tune into people streaming the game on Twitch in hopes of receiving an invite, leading to many people leaving streams on in the background all day long in an attempt to access the semi-exclusive beta.
Since Valorant is now open to Korea, Japan, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Turkey, MENA, Russia, CIS countries, North America, Latin America, and South America, it's likely that Valorant has even more players than it did during the closed beta. But only time will tell how many players that ends up being once the launch hype dies down.
As Riot continues to release content and form a steady esports system around the game, even more players could pick up the game in the coming months.
Is Valorant still a popular game on Twitch?
One way to gauge how many people are playing a game is by looking at how many people are watching it on Twitch and through other streaming platforms.
When the Valorant closed beta was first released, it broke Twitch's single-day viewership record within hours. The game had 34 million hours watched, with a peak viewership of around 1.7 million. This record beats the previous record, also set by Valorant when its gameplay was first revealed on April 3, which totaled 12.2 million hours watched.
While impressive, the fact that people binged Twitch in an attempt to get a closed beta key should be factored into this number. The amount of attention Valorant received due to the key drops eventually started to frustrate the streaming community, who said the Valorant section on Twitch was "fake" due to the amount of 24/7 drops and bot streams.
Many streamers and competitive players felt that the game was "boring and slow" to play and to watch. Even so, the game remained popular on Twitch throughout the closed beta due to the chance of getting keys and the presence of third-party tournaments.
So now that the key drops are over and done with, is Valorant still hitting large numbers on Twitch? Yes and no.
The game is now sixth in the current viewer rankings, trailing more established games like CSGO, Dota 2, and Fortnite. On June 10, there were a little over 76,000 views per hour, compared to more than 1 million at its peak two months ago on April 6. That's definitely down from the "470 million hours" of viewership the game received during the closed beta, but being in the top 10 of all Twitch games is nothing to scoff at. That also means that there's enough active streamers in Valorant making content to support such viewership numbers.
Is Valorant a dead game?
Some in the competitive gaming and esports communities have mocked Valorant for its sudden drop in the Twitch viewing charts. And many fans have also expressed frustration with the game's exclusivity to PC.
But the bulk of the "dead game" rants come from CSGO fans who are either nervous that Valorant is taking players and pros away from the more established title, or frustrated that it doesn't live up to their expectations. While Valorant definitely has a long way to go until it's anywhere near as big of an esport as is Counter-Strike, Riot has made it very clear that big plans are in store for Valorant.
To reach those goals, Riot has reportedly reached out to over 100 esports entities, including tournament organizers and competing organizations. While nothing has been revealed to the public, it seems as though these organizations and esports industry insiders have faith in Riot's plans, since many big names have already started creating their new teams in anticipation. Overwatch League's most valuable player also left the scene to join Valorant, making a definite case that he sees a future in the game. Why else give up a $150,000 contract to play a game in which you're the reigning MVP?
So, no, Valorant isn't a dead game. Not yet, anyway. For now, esports fans will have to wait and see just what Riot Games has in store.