Riot aces first VALORANT event with digital festival

The event was gorgeous.

Screengrab via Riot Games

Riot Games is well known for putting on a phenomenal show. The entire spectacle surrounding the League of Legends World Championship, including the music and visuals, is second to none in esports.

In 2017, a hologram version of the Elder Dragon swooped into the stadium before the match. And Riot's K-Pop group, K/DA, was created in 2018 and is still releasing singles.

But wwFest was Riot's first event for its new tactical shooter, VALORANT—and it was ambitious in scope. The event, which took place last month, was billed to be a blend of art, music, culture, and VALORANT with the artists channeling the characteristics of the individual agents.

The artist lineup for the festival was impressive. It boasted Grammy-nominated Madeon, Moore Kismet, Ookay, and Whipped Cream.

Drones were used to simulate the perspectives of the agents as the show progressed and was able to create a sense of intimacy that normal concert-goers wouldn't be able to experience. It was certainly the type of event that publishers and companies would want to put together for future marketing endeavors.

For Riot, the future is in these types of events. Some organizations and teams function more like media marketing companies than traditional sports teams. Content is how they stay afloat. In many ways, the League community has been strengthened and Worlds has been solidified as one of the premiere esports events because of the addition of culture to these spectacles.

While wwFest was a one-off event, it'd be premature to rule it out as being the last of its kind in VALORANT. It's more than just Riot's MO when promoting its esport, it could end up being the future of the gaming world itself. If Riot is getting massive promotional and marketing value from cultural events, what's to stop esports organizations like TSM or Cloud9 from getting in on the fun?

The answer lies in the financials of each individual organization and how they use their personalities. TSM's Myth does VALORANT watch parties already and music is a staple of every Twitch broadcast. With the way the world of esports is becoming fused with the streaming and marketing scenes for organizations, we may see them get in on the spectacle sooner rather than later.

Update Feb. 4 1:45pm CT: This article has been changed into an opinion piece.

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