Tencent's (OTC:TCEHY) Riot Games officially unveiled a new first-person shooter on Monday that could challenge the industry's top shooters, including Activision Blizzard's (NASDAQ:ATVI) Overwatch and Ubisoft's Rainbow Six Seige. Riot Games' Valorant is scheduled to be released this summer.
Valorant borrows elements from two of the top esports titles in the industry. The game blends together the tactical precision gameplay of Valve's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with the cartoonish, hero-based gameplay of Overwatch. Like both of those games, Valorant is a team-based shooter where each team battles to win certain objectives in the game.
Valorant could take gamers away from rival shooters
This will be Riot Game's first release since League of Legends a decade ago. League of Legends has been one of the most-watched games on the esports scene and on game-streaming sites, so Riot has the know-how to deliver a game that millions of people enjoy.
Overwatch has sold about 50 million copies since its release in 2016, but less than that still play the game. The total esports audience is expected to reach 495 million people in 2020, according to market researcher Newzoo. All told, there is a massive global audience for popular esports titles.
Valorant comes at a time when Tencent is expanding overseas away from mainland China. It's also an ideal time to challenge the stalwarts of the industry like Counter Strike and Overwatch that have been around for a while and may be vulnerable to a fresh take on the team-based shooter.
Valorant could easily win a much bigger player base than Overwatch, since it will be free-to-play, unlike Blizzard's shooter. Plus, the game has reportedly been in development for at least six years, so it should feel polished when it releases.