Today marks the one-year anniversary of Valorant, Riot's foray into the competitive shooter scene, and the developer has announced it's been a hit. "An average of more than 14 million PC players from around the world log on each month to play" the PC-only shooter, and over the game's first year have competed in over half a billion matches.
For comparison's sake, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive had just under 27 million players last month, so within one year Valorant has got over halfway to matching the player count of a series that has been around for over two decades (Counter-Strike was created in 1999 and has seen several iterations—CS: GO is the latest, and released in 2012). By any metric that is some going.
Riot also marked the occasion by announcing Valorant Mobile, though without any details. This would make it one of the only competitive FPSes with a mobile version (that isn't a battle royale).
“One of our top goals this first year was to earn the trust and respect of the global FPS community, and to prove to them that Valorant will always uphold the fundamentals of a truly worthwhile competitive tac-shooter,” said Anna Donlon, executive producer of the game. That's a bit of a theme with Riot's public pronouncements on the game: forever emphasising the perceived distinction between itself as a public-facing developer and the more reticent Valve, keeper of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
On that note, Valorant also seems healthy as an esport. Riot says that the final match in last week's Valorant Champions Tour, between Sentinels and Fnatic in Reykjavik, attracted more than one million concurrent viewers, and an "average minute audience," whatever that is, of over 800,000.
The anniversary will see a month-long celebration in-game, with players receiving various "commemorative digital swag" including a free event pass, and it all kicks off today. Valorant was PC Gamer's best multiplayer game of 2020, and has set such a high bar even Counter-Strike has been taking notice.