Why don't European clubs enter VALORANT?
VALORANT has blown up since it's launch, making it a top esport. So, why have some European clubs, like G2 Esports or Ninjas in Pyjamas, entered the game while others haven't?
This week, players from Party Parrots announced the disbandment of the team. The last event the Parrots are going to join will be Mandatory.gg cup, held on 31 July – 2 August.
Despite the fact the team has been experiencing little success recently (5th-6th place on WePlay! VALORANT Invitational, as well as the other two failed tournaments could not please neither players nor their fans), it's quite obvious that the problem is not the players' shape.
Firstly, Kyrylo "ANGE1" Karasiov claims that "there have not been and will not be any internal conflicts". Secondly, certain members of the team said they could not name the true reasons behind the disbandment at the moment. At the same time, Kyrylo stated that the team broke up because there were no good offers for the whole five-member team.
It's easy to guess and quite confidently state that some players (but not the whole team) have found a house.
I am sure that we will soon know about Shao's and ANGE1's new house. Andrey Kiprsky is one of the most prominent players in Europe at the moment, who received avg. 278 points of ACS on WePlay! VALORANT Invitational and became an absolute leader (he is followed by bzt with 255 pts, and ScreaM and ardiis – both received 252.9 pts).
Kyrylo Karasiov is the Parrots' striking force as well: on WePlay! VALORANT Invitational his average ACS was 219.5 pts which is the ninth result (by the way, better than Mixwell and davidp). However, such a crazy performance of his Brimstone is not the most valuable asset the player can offer. Over the years, Kyrylo headed various CS:GO teams and was an in-game leader of multinational teams, members of which communicated in English. Another player from Europe, who can be compared with ANGE1 in aspect of captaincy experience, is gob b, who recently announced his transition to the Riot Games' shooter.
Shao and ANGE1 are the kind of players who will be received well in any organization. So we just have to wait for the announcements, which, apparently, will appear soon. However, this is not the only aspect we want to discuss. During one of his streamings ANGE1 said the following: "No one needs the CIS team as a whole so far. Everyone wants to have cheap and long-term deals".
After the start of VALORANT tournaments and announcement of IGNITION Series, I expected a large number of teams would take risks and try to break into the competition scene. For now, we see such movement only in North America, where a lot of progressive organizations have already signed their line-ups.
Given the international reputation of Riot Games and their esports system in League of Legends, it can be expected that VALORANT will also have considerable support. As long as the shooter is playable (and it is) and good technical support is available (and it is – patches are released quite often and the game improves visibly), European teams could have already taken a chance and signed the line-up.
We all remember the Team Empire case with Rainbow Six: Siege. While many clubs had their noses turned up at the game considering CIS scene insufficiently promising, the "Empire" signed the line-up which eventually reached the first place in world ranking and received serious support in the west. Now we can say that once adventurous action turned out to be a very successful idea.
It seemed that with VALORANT such risks, to which Team Empire subjected itself, should be lower as the shooter from Riot Games attracted famous players from many fields (CS:GO, Overwatch, PUBG, Apex Legends – the list is quite long) who have their own "media". It means that even if the team did not play, it would be possible to compensate at least something due to streamings and work with audience.
But many CIS and European clubs took a wait-and-see position, and those which are active don't hurry to sign the prepared line-ups but rather buy single players. Because of this, strong teams like Party Parrots or – earlier – HypHypHyp, have to disband. This certainly does not add to the financial security of the players.
In his streaming ANGE1 made an interesting remark: "I was told in a large organization that they no longer sign new line-ups in order to earn on advertising. They sign up them for some franchises, for in-game team items – that is, they need to know for sure the line-up will pay off, otherwise it makes little sense to enter the game, and they will not allocate decent budgets for that".
It's a very interesting thesis that explains quite a lot. I have heard many times that stickers from CS:GO majors provide quite a good income to popular teams. The Rainbow Six: Siege affiliate program can also generate a lot of revenue: Dan Fiden, President of Cloud9, said in January this year that the organization "makes more money in Rainbow Six than in CS.
Personally, I have almost no doubts there will be a franchise league in VALORANT: after success in League of Legends, Riot Games have enough reasons to repeat this path. For an organization known for its control over its own intellectual property, this form of doing business is convenient. So the emergence of closed leagues is only a matter of time – time that clubs, unlike the players, are ready to wait.
And here we come to the main point: in context of global economic recession and the pandemic, clubs count their money more and more strictly. They are not ready to invest in line-up mixes which are certainly collected not optimally and which want to shuffle (here we do not mean Party Parrots, but speak in general), because it will be a waste of money. Such tactics is a loss for players only.
There remains only one question: why do some European clubs, like G2 Esports or Ninjas in Pyjamas, actually enter the game now? In short, it is a calculated risk that certain organizations can afford.
Firstly, to succeed, the organization needs the best players. There are already brightly shining individuals like Shao, and the competition is high enough. It is obvious that the number of people, whose playing ensures very high results, is very small, and one must be in time to buy them.
Secondly, history shows that at the time of esports discipline development it is possible to gather a big fan base with one's success. Natus Vincere in Dota 2, Team Empire in Rainbow Six: Siege, Gambit Esports in LoL – there are such examples. If everything goes well, such actions may be very benefitial.
The point is such that the management of the club must have a clear understanding of what they need to succeed. In context of unstable line-ups, the strategy of individual players buying seems to be more advantageous, especially when there is time to train and test players.
As the IGNITION Series – the first VALORANT tournament series officially supported by Riot Games – develops, we may soon see a big influx of organizations into the game, and it will definitely happen when there is a struggle for franchise league seats in some not very short period of time. In the meantime, we wish players from Europe and CIS have patience and motivation to progress. Everything will happen, but not at once.
The author's opinion may not coincide with the opinion of the editorial office.