Riot Games has announced a new program called VALORANT Game Changers, an all-women division of the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT). This program will likely to take women’s esports competition to the next level.
VALORANT executive producer Anna Donlon said that VALORANT team is excited to introduce the VCT Game Changers program. She also informed that this is an initiative designed to provide experience and a spotlight to elevate the women in the VALORANT competitive community. Competing in games as a woman can be a daunting task, oftentimes resulting in a very real competitive disadvantage, and while Riot Games is taking steps to address this in-game.
Donlon revealed that the FTW Summer Showdown, an all-women’s tournament that was a part of the Ignition Series inspired VCT Game Changers. The positive response to the event inspired Riot Games to take broader action in regards to building up women’s esports within VALORANT.
The VCT Game Changers consists of two circuits in the Game Changers series and Game Changers Academy. The Game Changer series is a circuit of large events whereas the Game Changers Academy will have weekly and monthly tournaments. VCT Game Changers is set to kick off in March, 2021.
So far women did not have a representation in most major esports events. There are a few women who played on top teams in a mixed-gender team setting, including Rainbow 6's Lauren "Goddess" Williams and Overwatch's Se-Yeon "Geguri" Kim. There are a handful of reliable women in solo sports such as Hearthstone and Fighting Games, but many top esports have yet to see a woman compete on the big stage.
Currently, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has a number of notable women teams in North America and Europe. There are a variety of dedicated women-only tournaments, but all-female teams have not found much success against men’s teams in regional leagues and qualifiers. Major reason for that is limited competitive opportunities and lacking organizational support.
The official VALORANT circuit for women can help solve those problems to some extent. Several top organizations are signing women to play on their teams, including the mixed-gender Evil Genius roster and the all-female Cloud9 White. Several notable female CSGO teams have also moved to VALORANT.