Riot Games is marketing Valorant into becoming the most anticipated game ever.
After the ascension of Fortnite, that does not even seem possible. In the past seven days, Valorant has had 147,044,040 hours watched on Twitch. Before their marketing efforts, the game had a lot of hype. Riot Games can coast on the waves of their success from League of Legends for many years to come. From the time they saw the trailer, players were pursuing a professional career in the unreleased game and professional esport players in other games were claiming they would jump ship to Valorant upon the release. What makes Valorant so intriguing?
What is Valorant?
Valorant was bred for success. Being made by Riot Games gives Valorant an advantage, but then, it is described as a mixture of “Overwatch” and “Counter-Strike,” two of the most popular games ever.
Valorant is a free-to-play, multiplayer, first-person shooter. There is not anything in particular that makes Valorant different from other first-person shooter games, and it is not claiming to be.
For example, Valorant’s website boasts how well the game runs with its 128-tick servers, and it does just that. It runs extremely well! So, if the game is not that unique, then why is it receiving so much attention?
Ask any marketer how to sell something and they will tell you to create urgency and scarcity. This is precisely what Riot Games is able to do with a partnership with Twitch. The game was first announced as Project A in October of 2019. This game would be Riot Games’ first major release since League of Legends, and that alone brought attention.
First, Riot Games had many content creators play in a closed recording session. This session allows for YouTube videos and social media content for Valorant-free press. Then, Riot Games partnered with Twitch and gave the closed beta key to partnered streamers. The only way the public can get access to the beta is through Twitch Drops. Drops are in-game rewards [game developers] can grant to [their] gaming communities natively within the Twitch viewing experience.
So, viewers need to watch the Valorant streams of Twitch partnered streamers and wait for a chance for a Drop-free press. The drops are random and limited. Once all of the keys have been given out, they will stop. This creates both scarcity and urgency. This gives people that receive a key the feeling of winning a lottery. Some “winners” are posting on social media to brag about receiving a key-free press. During this time, Twitch showcased Valorant on Twitch Rivals; a tournament series made for Twitch streamers.
With the Twitch partnership, Riot Games is able to create urgency, scarcity, and expose Valorant to so many people for free. Given how successful this launch has been for Valorant, it should be expected that other studios will release games with a similar strategy. As long as Riot Games continues to support this game, Valorant will be one of the top games of all time.