24th February 2021 – 7:24pm
Riot Games will very soon launch a new competitive circuit: the VCT Game Changers. This is a programme aimed at promoting diversity and highlighting women, as well as other genders marginalised by the community.
It's Anna Donlon, the Executive Producer of Valorant, who announces this new programme in a video on the official website.
Initially, the VCT Game Changers will be divided into two initiatives: the VCT Game Changers Series and the VCT Game Changers Academy.
This is a series of high level esports tournaments that will be held all over the world. The scheme should be similar to what was experienced with the Valorant First Strike. We can therefore expect regular tournaments, with different formats. The modalities of participation are not yet known. The first tournament should take place in North America at the end of March.
This programme aims to highlight the Valorant players at the semi-professional level. It will be organised by Galorants, a community of female players of Valorant. Galorants has a very active Discord, reserved for women, where players can meet to play together, build teams or participate in learning activities.
The goal of this programme is to change the mentality of a large part of the community by valuing the talent of Valorant female players. This is not a miracle solution, but a necessary step towards the elimination of gender discrimination.
It's a fact that must be accepted: a significant part of the Valorant community is particularly toxic. This toxicity generally manifests itself through insults of a misogynistic nature. Unfortunately, women are much more likely to be the targets of these displaced behaviours.
The simple fact of being identified as a woman in online games, including Valorant, leads male players to question their legitimacy, to make scapegoats of them, and even to harass them even outside games. This is a phenomenon that more and more studies corroborate, on different games.
No woman is immune to this phenomenon, whatever their level or profile. We can talk about the case of Pokimane, as many other female streamers, who are regularly subjected to misogynistic remarks.
But the most telling example is probably that of... the Riot Games employees themselves. Anna Donlon and Evergreen Lily, who are the creators of the game, however, can't even enjoy it without being insulted.
From Valorant's start, Anna Donlon and the Valorant teams have been very vocal about these problems. Part of their team has been dedicated to the development of long-term solutions.
Since the beginning of the year, Riot Games has taken this kind of plan to clean up Valorant to the next level. Cheaters and AFK players were the first to be targeted, but measures against incivilities will be deployed from patch 2.04 onwards.
Once again, it's not the VCT Game Changers that will solve all problems overnight. But these steps first create safer spaces, where these players can assert themselves and gain self-confidence, while showing others that they are just as talented.