Even though Valorant is only in closed beta, the early signs are that Riot's new tactical shooter is going to have a long and successful run as an esport.
Tournaments have already sprung up and multiple esport organisations and players have announced they are pursuing their goals in Valorant.
But few could see foresee what happened tonight when a grandee from an established esport, a player who has won the highest honour in his respective game, decided to call it quits and attempt to go professional in Valorant.
- Read More: Valorant to get changes to damage and health feedback, replay system in the works confirm devs
But that is exactly what happened when current Overwatch League MVP Jay "Sinatraa" Won, announced his sudden retirement making his transition to Valorant in the process signing for the Sentinels esport organisation.
ESPN originally broke the news to Overwatch fans, with San Francisco Shock confirming it via social media soon after.
He came, he saw and he conquered.— San Francisco Shock (@SFShock) April 28, 2020
Thank you and best of luck in your future endeavors @Sinatraa🧡 pic.twitter.com/XCyWSzN4UV
Sinatraa took to Twitter to explain the situation bluntly, citing losing passion for the game and being burnt out as main factors for retiring.
fuck i forgot to mention im moving to valorant in this but i am so ya— Jay Won (@sinatraa) April 28, 2020
"Straight up just lost passion for the game. I don't know what the real killer was for me but maybe it was 2-2-2 lock, maybe it was (hero) bans, I'm not sure... I just know it was hard for me to log on to play and I didn't have fun in scrims/ranked at all anymore."
Sentinels followed up by teasing with a quick video they’re entering the Valorant esports scene, with no mention of Sinatraa as of yet.
The next era of esports begins. pic.twitter.com/YXgbBiJNLv— Sentinels (@Sentinels) April 28, 2020
Won broke into the scene while playing for Selfless, teaming up with household names like Daniel "Dafran'' Francesca and Jeff "Emongg" Anderson. The squad became renowned for their hyper-aggressive style of play, usually characterized by heavy spawn camping of the opposition.
(Credit: Overwatch League)
During the 2017 Overwatch World Cup, despite a strong showing from USA, Sinatraa's inexperience showed against veterans from Asia, getting trumped by South Korea, and individually by Jong-ryeol "Saebyeolbe" Park on the Tracer vs Tracer matchup.
- Read more: Valorant v0.49 Patch Notes: Ranked play, Omen tweaks, Map updates and Observer mode changes
With the debut of the Overwatch League in 2018, expectations were high for Jay, especially after a leaked contract stated that he'd be one of the highest-paid players in the League, netting $150,000 per annum.
Joining the Shock mid-season was a fruitless exercise for San Francisco's squad, disappointing fans on both a team and individual level, Sinatraa was a huge part of Team USA's flop at that year's World Cup as well, getting knocked out by Team UK in their first match at Blizzcon.
2019 was finally the season where Sinatraa fulfilled his potential. Dominating OWL during the GOATs meta with his guns-blazing playstyle, winning both the championship and the MVP trophies, earning a special in-game skin that’s yet to be released.
He eventually led the USA to the coveted World Cup win, being the first country in four years to win who wasn't South Korea.
Time will tell if he made the right move, but the definite impact this will have on the perception people will have of OWL is undeniable, one of their best and most recognisable players just left the game and what starts as a trickle could quickly become a flood.