Inclusivity with Valorant scored a win yesterday as Riot Games announced their Game Changers Program. The initiative looks to create a fully-fledged competitive ecosystem for women’s Valorant. The program debuted across social media and on the playvalorant.com site on February 23.
The Game Changers program will debut with its North American series as early as March. Overall the program looks to offer more “exposure for marginalized genders within Valorant.”
However, the move has drawn the ire of many of the more close-minded fans. Criticism has come from both Valorant esports supporters and the wider community. The misguided criticism used factually incorrect statements about the Game Changers program. They allegedly worried about eyes being diverted away from “top-level” competition by this initiative. Other complaints were levelled at the perceived unfairness of women’s-only and gender-locked leagues.
Supporters of the program were quick to pledge their support. Many of the initial falsehoods were debunked quickly, and the positive aspects of the program were shared. Overall, the vast majority of the reaction to the announcement has been positive.
Only the Beginning
Valorant has already made waves with its competitive inclusivity far outstripping almost every other esport in terms of proportion and visibility. Last month, Evil Geniuses announced a mixed-gender roster. Meanwhile, in the WSOE Online V: Valorant Qualifier, Cloud9 White defeated Renegades in a surprise upset. In Valorant it seems, the playing field is starting to level, although there’s plenty of work still to be done.
The fact that there was a huge outcry following the announcement of such an innocuous program like Game Changers is cause for concern. Many members of the community used the opportunity to have their voices heard. In posts across Twitter and Reddit, competitive players contributed stories about their experience in esports.