There was a mild amount of controversy in the Valorant community today when players discovered what seems to be a “pay to win” skin. A Valorant player posting on the game’s Reddit revealed how a skin that they’d purchased gave them an unfair gameplay advantage.
After buying the Valorant Prism skin pack, one of several paid-for cosmetics on sale in the game, they found that the Prism operator skin gave them a wider field of vision on scoped weapons. With the Prism skin, the sides of the scope are unobscured allowing players to see more of the game when looking down it compared to other skins available in the game.
The Reddit poster called the skin “pay to win,” a phrase used to mean that a game allows players to pay to get a gameplay advantage. The term has been used many times to criticize microtransactions sold in several EA games.
Riot though says that this is just a bug. In response to the Reddit post, a Valorant developer confirmed that this will be fixed in an upcoming patch and that the team does test to make sure things like this don’t happen.
The fact that it was missed, or somehow could not be fixed before the Prism cosmetics were made available, suggests that Valorant is not ready for sports primetime. In a post on the game’s official site last week, Riot confirmed that while it won’t go into anything without seeing what’s best, it is talking about Valorant esports.
Valorant esports could make a huge amount of money for Riot which could offer expensive league spots and brand sponsorships. However, this pay to win controversy suggests that while Valorant has an incredible number of fans, Riot may want to wait much longer before launching any esports competitions.