Valorant was released in 2020, and it has now grown to become one of the most popular first-person shooters out there. There is also a massive esports scene for Valorant, with large-scale tournaments having prize pools of up to a million U.S. dollars. 

A substantial chunk of Valorant pros includes players from the esports scenes of CSGO and Overwatch. Many Overwatch and CSGO pros left their respective esports leagues for Valorant. But why is that the case? Here we will be exploring precisely that. 

Valorant’s Insane Popularity

One of the main reasons for the transition of Overwatch and CSGO pros to Valorant is its insane popularity. Valorant started to gain tons of popularity and attracted a lot of players even before it came out of beta. 

Valorant had little to no flaws even during its beta phase. The game had no bugs, had great performance even on low spec PCs, and was quite fun. All that was required was to market it so people could try it. 

Valorant utilized a unique marketing strategy for advertisement. During the beta phase of Valorant, you could only play valorant through keys that you only got as drops from Twitch streams. Twitch streams for Valorant started getting tons of views, which caused a huge spike in Valorant’s player count. 

Valorant had all the right mechanics for an esports title, and with the way that its popularity was growing, it was clear that an esports scene for Valorant was not too far. For this reason, even pro players for other games started getting into Valorant.  

The Similarities

However, the popularity of Valorant does not explain why pros, specifically from Overwatch and CSGO, started playing Valorant. Why weren’t pro esports players from other games like Dota 2 and Rainbow Six Siege getting into Valorant?  

The thing is, Valorant has tons of similarities with both Overwatch and CSGO. Valorant has a competitive mode, just like the one from CSGO. Valorant also is a hero-based game, just like Overwatch, where heroes, or agents in the case of Valorant, have unique abilities. It’s as if CSGO and Overwatch had a baby.

One may argue that Valorant is much more similar to CSGO than Overwatch. However, all three games have such similar mechanics that a pro player can easily transition from Overwatch to Valorant or from CSGO to Valorant. Both games require skill sets that are easily transferable to Valorant. 

The Real Reasons Behind The Transition

Esports pros from CSGO and Overwatch started shifting to Valorant long before there was an esports scene for it. There was an established ecosystem for both Overwatch and CSGO, but some players chose to leave it for Valorant, and the reasons mentioned above do not explain this. 

While it is true that both the popularity of Valorant and its similarities with Overwatch and CSGO helped a great deal in this transition, it is not the complete story. As the pros themselves started to reveal why they left their respective esports scenes, it was clear that the popularity and similarities with CSGO were not the only reasons for the transition. 

You would be surprised to find out that the reason Overwatch pros shifted to Valorant is not the same for CSGO pros. Here is a detailed explanation for each one of them.

The State Of Overwatch

Overwatch had been seeing a steady drop in its player count for a long time. Players started to experience longer queue times for matches, and the updates that kept on changing the meta of the game did not make things any better. 

Jay Won (Sinatraa) was the top player in the Overwatch esports scene, and he announced his departure from the Overwatch esports scene in April of 2020. He stated that he had lost passion for the game and wasn’t enjoying playing Overwatch. Another top-level pro Overwatch player, George Gushcha (ShaDowBurn), had similar views for the game. He stated that at some point, he just stopped enjoying the game. 

It was the same story throughout the whole Overwatch player base. There was a large outflow of players from Overwatch, and all of them had similar reasons for leaving the game. With regular updates that kept on changing the meta, the game slowly transformed into something else, which was not the Overwatch they loved and enjoyed. 

Can’t Pay The Bills With CSGO

As is apparent from the examples mentioned above, a lot of the pros that left the Overwatch scene for Valorant included some of the top players for Overwatch esports. However, this was not the case for CSGO pros. 

Players that were leaving the CSGO esports scene were mostly underrated CSGO pros. Because they were not the top performers in CSGO esports, they were also not paid enough to meet decent living standards, or in some cases, they weren’t paid at all. 

Since Valorant was blowing up in popularity and had all the right tools for becoming an esports title, players saw a huge potential for a Valorant esports scene. It only made sense that they would want to get a head start in it. 

As we can see from examples like Tyson Ngo (TenZ), things worked out for underrated CSGO pros that left the CSGO esports scene for Valorant. Pros that couldn’t make it in the CSGO esports scene are doing quite well in the Valorant esports scene.

Final Thoughts

So now we know why a lot of Overwatch and CSGO pros left the esports scenes for their respective games, but what can we learn from this. 

There are multiple reasons why pros left their esports scenes for Valorant, even though both CSGO and Overwatch had well-established esports scenes. Also, both underrated players and the top players made the transition. 

What this means is that no matter what stage of your esports career you are in, no matter how much time you have spent with a specific game, if you see an opportunity and feel that it is right for you to make the transition, you should never have second thoughts about doing it.