VALORANT Game Changers Championship state in Berlin.
Photo by Michal Konkol via Riot Games

‘Esports winter’ strikes again with mass exodus of organizations leaving Game Changers VALORANT

It's still getting colder.

In just the past week, three prominent esports organizations have said goodbye to their VALORANT Game Changers rosters after the group stage portion of the EMEA Series Two event. But while the teams admittedly did not perform well, the issue goes beyond mere tournament results.

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Ninjas in Pyjamas, Alliance, and EXCEL all released their entire VALORANT Game Changers divisions within a week of the end of the current EMEA group stage. All three organizations are now completely out of VALORANT, having all parted ways with their men’s rosters as well over the past year.

Related: Gen.G CEO believes some of esports’ biggest organizations won’t survive ‘esports winter’

In its goodbye statement, Alliance co-owner and CSO Kelly Ong said the organization wasn’t able to complete all the goals it had set for competing in Game Changers, adding that Alliance has not been able to maintain stability, forcing the org to step back and “re-evaluate” its involvement in Game Changers. In a tweet referencing NiP’s departure, the organization’s esports director Erik Wendel said it had “high hopes” for Game Changers and said “the esports winter is not letting up.”

Discussions around an “esports winter” have permeated the scene for the past year or so, as leagues, companies, organizers, and teams have all struggled to maintain profitability. Outside of the partnered teams competing in the VCT leagues, VALORANT teams have struggled as well in the tier-two realm.

Multiple factors are contributing to the issues facing teams outside of partnership, including a shortened schedule with multiple blank months on the schedule, lesser viewership, and fewer sponsorship opportunities. The schedule is also brutal; teams that don’t qualify for a Challengers league or Game Changers series are effectively left out for most of the year.

Related: Tier two VALORANT has the passion and talent for a long future—if Riot helps it survive

The future of tier-one VALORANT is certainly exciting, but a crumbling foundation means less talent sustaining it. And if the goal for Riot is to see the best Game Changers players eventually reach the VCT, then organizations rushing to leave is not a great sign.


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Author
Scott Robertson
VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.