Valorant reaches out to women and marginalized genders with Game Changers
Valorant has decided to take a major step towards making the world of esports a lot more inclusive. Developer Riot Games has announced an initiative that’s targeting women and marginalized genders. VALORANT Champions Tour Game Changers will launch in March, with plans to split things into two streams.
Game Changers Academy will spotlight both grassroots Valorant players and those who categorize themselves as semi-pro. The Game Changers Series, meanwhile, will focus on providing exposure to players in regional tournaments. The initiative is designed to provide both experience and exposure for women playing competitive Valorant.
In announcing the Valorant Game Changers news on the Valorant website, Riot stated: “The competitive VALORANT community is both diverse and incredibly global, and our esports should reflect that. Through Game Changers, we hope to build towards a VALORANT Champions Tour that is more inclusive and representative of our community.”
By turning the spotlight away from those often seen as the face of Valorant—i.e. men—Riot hopes to send a message that the game is indeed for everyone.
The goal of the two streams is therefore to open up the playing field. The thinking is that the more you see someone who looks like you doing something you might have thought impossible to do, the more likely you are to try it.
In a YouTube video Valorant executive producer Anna Donlon said that competing in the first-person shooter’s game can sometimes be daunting to the point where it can affect performance.
Riot senior director of Esports Whalen Rozelle, meanwhile, stated this on the Valorant site: “Game Changers will provide tournaments and development programs for women who want to take their game beyond competitive ladder play, “With VALORANT esports, we’re committed to fostering an inclusive environment for competition and creating safe opportunities for women to compete without fear of identity or gender-based harassment.”