With the culmination of the Ignition Series partnership program that was announced back in June 2020, not only viewers but most importantly professional players were very curious and vocal about what Riot Games plan to do next for VALORANT.
Ignition Series was without a doubt a huge success for both sides: Riot as the publisher of the game, and all of the over 20 partners that joined forces with them across multiple regions to bring the desired exposure and recognition for the brand new FPS game on the market. Since the game’s release over six months ago, the total prize money distributed among the teams and players exceeded $1,000,000 USD.
Riot introduced that series as “an official Riot-partner program where we spotlight a few tournaments each week, help discover talented players, and build global recognition for top VALORANT pros and teams.” Right now, the situation is a bit different as the newly announced First Strike will be the first series of global tournaments operated and organized by Riot Games to find out which teams are the best in regional competition.
From the official press release issued by Riot Games:
“VALORANT is a deeply competitive title with global appeal and the necessary elements to become the next premier esport,” said Whalen Rozelle, Senior Director of Esports at Riot Games. “First Strike will provide our thriving competitive ecosystem with the platform to showcase their greatness, build regional legacy, and a foundation that will support the esport for years to come.”
First Strike will be a global set of tournaments, composed of multiple regional finals taking place across North America, Europe, CIS, Turkey, Asia, Oceania, Brazil, and the Middle East. Each region will host a series of merit-based qualifiers, resulting in multiple Riot-produced, top eight First Strike Finals, running from December 3 – 6. The winners will earn the right to call themselves the first official regional VALORANT champions. Both professional teams and aspiring amateur squads will have opportunities to qualify for the First Strike finals through online tournaments operated by premier esports organizations.
“Esports remains one of the best investments we can make to support our community for the long term,” said Anna Donlon, Executive Producer of VALORANT. “As we’ve already seen from the Ignition Series, there’s a huge demand and hunger for VALORANT to be played at a professional level, and we’re so excited to be starting that journey with fans, players, and organizations. As a development team, supporting the competitive world of VALORANT is one of our top priorities, and we are committed to this journey.”
According to the news shared on the official VALORANT website for Latin America, more news regarding the future of the tournaments in that region will be shared on a later date.
Many things are still unknown about First Strike. We can expect more news to be released in the upcoming days, such as dates, the exact prize pool, and the process of qualification.
What do you think about the bigger involvement of Riot Games in the growing esports ecosystem of VALORANT? Do you think the quality of the events will be even better now that the studio will be the one in charge of operating them? Which regions are you finding the most exciting to watch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!