Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, renowned Counter-Strike AWPer and a professional player for NaVi, made waves in the CS:GO community on Tuesday night when he streamed VALORANT rather than CS:GO.
While a professional CS:GO player streaming VALORANT isn't typically noteworthy, it is noteworthy when it is one of the most prominent ambassadors for CS:GO. S1mple is considered by many to be the greatest CS:GO pro of all time, so his flirtation with VALORANT is a cause for concern to some folks in the professional CS:GO scene.
"He is the face of CS:GO," explained CS:GO commentator Auguste "Semmler" Massonnat in a video released on Wednesday. "You know everyone is popping champagne over at Riot when they see S1mple turn on a stream and he is streaming VALORANT to tens of thousands of fans. Everyone at Riot is over there popping champagne, music is going off, everyone is dancing on the tables. It's that good of an event for them."
Semmler went as far as saying that even a casual VALORANT stream from S1mple can provide more exposure than many VALORANT tournaments and competitive events could. He argued that S1mple playing VALORANT, especially unprompted by Riot, is a huge endorsement for the tactical shooting title.
While S1mple has streamed the game in the past, Tuesday's stream was the first time that S1mple played VALORANT on stream since July of 2020. Before launching yesterday's stream, he took to Twitter to announce the stream, where he also commented that VALORANT is "too simple". He ended up streaming the game for about six hours, during which time he played about a dozen games.
It is unclear if S1mple plans to make VALORANT it a regular part of his stream, but if he does it is a big win for Riot, who has been awfully quiet about VALORANT players numbers of late. Semmler surmised that the silence on VALORANT's player base numbers may indicate that they are struggling to maintain a significant audience compared to CS:GO, Apex Legends, and other chart-topping titles.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.