Needless to say, Riot Game's most recent release - tactical shooter, VALORANT - has had incredible hype throughout its Closed Beta, leading up to its official launch on June 2nd. However, despite peaking at over 1.7 million viewers just days after its initial Closed Beta launch - breaking a Twitch record in the process - the game has fallen to an average of just 40,000 viewers a couple months later.
VALORANT's Closed Beta launched on April 7th, with Beta Keys being dropped to random viewers, giving them access to play the game these past couple months, before its official release. The incredibly high demand not only slowed Riot's servers, but also pressured them to increasing the key drops, giving access to even more players than originally intended. In short, the game was incredibly popular - everyone wanted to play.
Just days after the launch, on April 9th, there were over a million average VALORANT viewers on Twitch throughout the entire day, according to stats displayed in our Inven Global Datalab. The second highest average views was only about 15% of VALORANT's (and it was Riot Games' other title, League of Legends).
For nearly two weeks after its April 7th release, VALORANT kept about 500,000 average viewers on Twitch. Some viewers already had keys, some lost hope, and others may have decided the game wasn't for them, or at least not spectating. But 500,000 viewers is an incredible amount, especially when it's averaging all hours of the day.
For more than a month, VALORANT topped the charts for average viewers on Twitch, beating every other category every single day in a row through May 11th. On May 12th, VALORANT dropped 35,000 average viewers, falling behind "Just Chatting," but remaining the highest watched video game for another week. May 18th, they were further overtaken, and VALORANT continued to have fewer viewers every day.
By this time, many streamers who had been broadcasting the game left to other games they were more known for. Many big name streamers who draw in large crowds, like Herschel "Guy" "Dr. Disrespect" Beahm IV, Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag, and more, play much different styles of shooters and had already moved back to their main games. By the end of May, on VALORANT's last day of Closed Beta before being turned off to prepare for the official Launch, the game had dropped down to only 40,000 average viewers, falling behind World of Warcraft, Dota 2, and it's competitor, CS:GO.
Dr. Disrespect says the game is hard to watch. Riot may need to address this to ensure a strong future for the playerbase and viewership, especially as they move forward with the esports scene in the future. VALORANT has already pulled in huge names for its eventual competitive scene. In the time leading up to that launch, it will be crucial to stabilize the hype into something sustainable and find ways to ensure the viewership experience is exciting.
The hype VALORANT brought just after its release was very real. And there are very logical explanations for its decline. No game ever sustains one million average viewers. Additionally, a brand new game with little to no history and prior audience sustaining 40,000 average viewers a day would usually be a huge win. Especially if it could sustain that over a long period of time.
Time and again, we've seen games like Escape From Tarkhov and Apex Legends - two other First Person Shooters - rise to the top of the charts just to fall down to nearly nothing just a month or two later. Will VALORANT follow suit? Or will it regain some hype and find a sustainable level to keep the game relevant for years to come?
Riot Games likely has higher hopes for the title than "10th most popular game on Twitch." We should expect a surge in viewership on June 2nd and the days and weeks following the launch - especially with a new map, agent, and game mode. But where it settles in the long run will be interesting, and what Riot, the competitive scene, and the community do to lift it up will be important.