- Riot Games new competitive shooter Valorant could suffer from a player endorsement issue.
- The Overwatch League code of conduct has previously barred players from endorsing other, non-Blizzard games.
- If Blizzard revives this clause, it could potentially threaten the success of the new Riot Games title.
Riot Games has now officially announced Valorant, a competitive shooter where two teams of five players fight each other. The playable characters have abilities and Valorant has been compared to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and hero shooter Overwatch.
For Riot, this means that Valorant has a ready-made fanbase. Anyone who enjoys CS:GO or Overwatch will likely also get a kick out of Valorant.
However, the new Riot Games release could suffer from an ironic issue. Valorant is a huge competitor to Overwatch and Overwatch 2 and Blizzard could potentially bar professional Overwatch players from streaming the Riot Games title.
Blizzard has form for this sort of thing. In 2018, outlets looked closer at the Overwatch League’s code of conduct and saw that it said “players may not directly or indirectly endorse the playing or purchasing of any non-Activision Blizzard game in any manner”. Players could be punished for suggesting that viewers buy a non-Blizzard game or anything that sounded like an endorsement.
The language was strong and Blizzard quickly responded to criticisms, saying that the code of conduct is a “living document” that could change after talking to players. It did change and the code of conduct available now doesn’t include the non-endorsement clause.
Few would be surprised if Blizzard did bring it back though as Riot Games is going for its Overwatch fanbase. Riot Games also once did something like this when it banned League of Legends pros from streaming games such as Hearthstone, Starcraft, and World of Warcraft which are all developed by Blizzard.
Banning Overwatch League pros from streaming Valorant would be a controversial move for Blizzard. If that’s what it has to do to take down Valorant though it may just do it.