Valorant esports is growing from strength-to-strength with the Valorant Champions Tour currently into its second month of a year long program of events.
However, like almost all before it Valorant esports is a predominantely male affair. An issue with its genesis in representation, a toxic online gaming culture, and the sheer number of male gamers meaning the odds of anyone, other than a male, breaking through are slim to none.
Riot has recognised these issues with Valorant and has made efforts to improve and challenge the established norms, allowing esport organisations to field two rosters in the case of Cloud9's male "Blue" roster and female "White" roster.
Cloud9 field both a male and female team in Valorant and have competed in the same competitions. (Picture: Cloud9)
Now they are taking it a step further announcing, on 23rd February, the creation of a supplementry competitive season that aims to give "women and other marginalised genders" opportunties to compete and a showcase their talents to a wider audience.
Named, VCT Game Changers, this new competitive track will feature two tiers of competition, the VCT Game Changers Series, and the VCT Game Changers Academy.
The former is the top tier of competition, a multi-regional affair, and is promised to be "similar in scale" to last year's Ignition Series.
The Game Changers Academy will be a monthly series of competitions, created in partnership with Galorant, which aims to give opportunities to those at semi-pro and grassroots level. Galorant helped host the For The Women (FTW) Summer Showdown in September of last year.
Galorants is one of the biggest competition communites in Valorant (Picture: Galorants)
Anna Donlon, executive producer of Valorant, spoke of "elevating" women in the Valorant community: "Competing in games as a woman, can be a daunting task, often times resulting in a very real competitive disadvantage. While we’re addressing this challenge in-game, with improvements to chat, voice communications, and mitigation of griefing, we also see an opportunity to take another step with esports.
"The VCT Game Changers series will be a set of top tier tournaments with large prizes on the line for the best performing teams."
Senior director of esports at Riot Games, Whalen "Magus" Rozelle, writes: "The competitive Valorant community is both diverse and incredibly global, and our esport should reflect that. Through Game Changers, we hope to build towards a Valorant Champions Tour that is more inclusive and representative of our community."
VCT Game Changers is set to kick off in March with a tournament for the North American region before expanding out over the year.