The Valorant esports scene is expanding yet again with the introduction of the VCT Game Changers program.
The Game Changers Series is a newly created set of top-tier competitions that will take place in multiple regions around the world in 2021. These competitions are focused on spotlighting women and marginalized genders around the world. The competitions will be similar in scale to the Ignition Series tournaments that took place in 2020.
Executive producer of VALORANT Anna Donlon announced to players that the new program is focused on elevating women and marginalized genders in the VALORANT competitive community.
“Competing in games as a woman can be a daunting task, oftentimes resulting in a very real competitive disadvantage.” Donlon said.
There is a long history of women competing at higher levels and being harassed, abused, and talked down to. While some organizations and games have taken steps to reduce this experience for women, many still feel unwelcome in top-tier gameplay and esports.
GALORANTs is helping run VCT Game Changers
The Game Changers Academy sees the creation of monthly tournaments that gives players more opportunities to compete outside of the VALORANT Champions Tour. GALORANTs, a large community of women in VALORANT is helping organize the tournaments.
GALORANTs has been around almost as long as VALORANT. Their Discord server is host to many female-only tournaments with prize pools of varying sizes. The latest tournament organized by GALORANTs in partnership with Gen.G touts a $1,000 prize pool. Tournaments are broadcast on the GALORANTs’ Twitch and are casted by women in the community.
In 2020, Riot helped support a tournament for women called the For the Women Summer Showdown in partnership with GALORANTs, and which included Nerd Street Gamers as a partner. The reaction to the tournament was met with criticism at first, but overall garnered a lot of positive support and praise. VCT Game Changers is a more concrete extension of tournaments such as the Summer Showdown.
North America will get the first competition, which will kick off in March.
Lead image credit: Riot Games