It’s no secret that VALORANT, Riot Games’ attempt at the FPS genre, is very successful. Roughly two months ago, I released a column that focused on the growth of VALORANT, both as a casual and as an esports. It wrote how League of Legends, one of the biggest RTS titles in the last decade, wasn’t as popular in the West as it was in the past, and that VALORANT is taking over the market.
However, League of Legends is still the most popular game in South Korea. According to Gametrics.com, a Korean gaming data website that provides various data with regards to PC bangs across Korea, LoL has been the number one game in PC bangs in South Korea for over 200 weeks. Highly popular titles like Overwatch and PUBG have tried to topple LoL from its throne, but LoL quickly took back the top spot and held it for many years.
In the same ranking system, titles like FIFA Online 4 and PUBG are listed in the top spots behind League of Legends. For many weeks, VALORANT struggled to break into the top 3, until Sep 17, 2022, where it beat the highly popular FPS title in Korea, Sudden Attack, to take the number three position. So how did this happen?
This sudden rise in PC bang rankings can be correlated to the Korean representatives, DRX’s success at VALORANT Champions 2022. For those that are unfamiliar with how VALORANT esports circuit works, VALORANT Champions is the final culminating tournament of the VALORANT Champions Tour, a global tournament series that takes place throughout most of the year. DRX was knocked down to the Lower Bracket Quarterfinals by LOUD, but beat Fnatic and FunPlus Phoenix to make it to the Lower Bracket Finals, where they fell to Optic Gaming 2-3 in a very close series and finished third place.
In my opinion, VALORANT toppling Sudden Attack in the PC bang usage rankings is huge, however brief it may have been. For context, Sudden Attack is a free-to-play, multiplayer FPS title developed by GameHi [Nexon GT], and has been the number one FPS title among the Korean user base since 2005. Sudden Attack was always in the top 10 of the PC bang rankings since its release. It's so popular that many Korean celebrities collaborated with Sudden Attack to be released as in-game characters. So for VALORANT to beat Sudden Attack in the rankings is absolutely massive.
Members of K-pop group ITZY were released as in-game characters in Sudden Attack
So is the rise of VALORANT in Korea all just a fad? I'd say it's only a matter of time before VALORANT takes over the Korean gaming market.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports