On July 12, 2023, Tencent launched Valorant, the highly anticipated first-person shooter developed by Riot Games, in mainland China. The release was delayed due to the lengthy process of obtaining a Chinese license. Valorant’s release comes at an opportune time, as China is the world’s largest PC gaming market, with established shooters like Counter Strike: Global Offensive and CrossFire already boasting strong communities and esports ecosystems.
Valorant’s successful launch can be attributed to its partnership with Riot Games, the creator of League of Legends (LoL), the most popular PC game in China. Players who link their LoL and Valorant accounts receive exclusive rewards, incentivizing the player base. Additionally, Valorant fills the void left by the closure of Blizzard’s Overwatch, a similar title with a large esports ecosystem in China.
Niko Partners, a market research firm, forecasts that Valorant will contribute to the growth of the PC gaming market in China. The game already showed promising results in its first week, with high viewer demand and popularity on live streaming platforms. Valorant’s launch day witnessed long wait times and server issues due to overwhelming demand, prompting Tencent to increase server capacity.
To cater to Chinese players, Tencent and Riot Games have conducted closed tests to get player feedback and ensure a personalized experience. The Chinese version of the game includes unique local features and features that align with the preferences of Chinese players. The developers also plan to sync updates between the international and China servers.
Additionally, Valorant has a strong focus on esports, with a dedicated esports section in the game launcher. China has the world’s largest esports market, and Tencent has committed RMB 1 billion ($138 million) over the next three years to further develop Valorant and its esports ecosystem. Chinese esports organizations such as Edward Gaming have already fielded teams and shown their potential in international Valorant tournaments.
In conclusion, the launch of Valorant in China is expected to fuel growth in the PC gaming market and contribute to the development of the global esports ecosystem for the game. Off to a strong start and favorable reception, Valorant has the potential to become a successful esports title in China and beyond.