Reading now: Valorant closed beta rushes to 1.6M viewers on Twitch
The Valorant closed beta got underway earlier today, and—no surprise here—there looks to be an awful lot of interest in it. Roughly 1.6 million people are watching it being played on Twitch, which as Kotaku notes puts it close to the all-time record of 1.7 million concurrent viewers put up by Fortnite during its season 10-ending black hole. Update: Valorant views have since hit 1.7 million.
One factor behind Valorant's big Twitch success may lie in the way Riot is distributing closed beta keys. Instead of doling them out at random to people who ask nicely, in the style of CS:GO Souvenir item drops, they're being given to people who are watching the streams. That's naturally going to drive up the number of viewers, and it's also going to encourage people to game the system: According to Dot Esports, eager Valorantines are setting up multiple linked Riot and Twitch accounts in order to increase their odds of getting a key.
Given that, it'll be interesting to see how the viewership holds up as keys become more widely available, although there's no question that the interest is "real" and not just a rush for something free to play for a few days. Riot's other game, League of Legends, remains a huge success, and the studio's decision to finally move into something different after more than a decade of LoL is bound to attract attention. Riot has also been very judicious with Valorant's drip-feed unveiling: We've had some hands-on time with it, but shared gameplay has until today been restricted to brief teasers and an influencers event that took place last weekend.