The VALORANT Champions 2023 Prize Pool has officially been shared with the public and people are losing their minds at the amount Riot Games allotted for the tournament. The massive $2.25 million prize pool ($1 million for the champion) is an impressive feat for an esports league in its third year. However, this also sparked the debate on whether Riot Games is favoring VALORANT too much to invest such a massive budget for this game over their other titles.
The VALORANT Champions 2023 Prize Pool
VALORANT’s $2.25 million prize pool is more than double the budget the esports title had in both 2021 and 2022 which had $1 million each. This sets the record for the highest prize pool for the current esports title and is only expected to grow each year. With the announcement of this prize amount, teams participating in the tournament have expressed their excitement and newfound inspiration to take the trophy home alongside a very heavy check.
In terms of comparison, the VALORANT Champions 2023 prize pool is the same amount as the League of Legends 2022 World Championship prize pool at $2.25 million each. We still don’t know how much Riot Games will give the Worlds 2023 prizes but right now they are both equal in value, but there are more League of Legends teams sharing the pool than VALORANT teams so the distribution is a lot more stretched.
Unlike other esports, Riot Games doesn’t have a system where the community can increase the pool by purchasing event-exclusive items and benefits. Instead, Riot Games draws the prize pool directly from their own sales affected by the overall performance of the esports in the current season. That means that there is no chance for the game to reach the same prize pools as that of Dota 2 and Fortnite.
The significance of having such a high prize pool is that it symbolizes the success of VALORANT as an esports competition. The VALORANT Champions 2023 prize pool easily makes the top 5 highest prize pools from tactical FPS titles. Even VALORANT’s main competitor, CS:GO, has $2 million as its highest prize pool from the PGL Major Stockholm 2021. With the popularity of VALORANT steadily growing, we an expect it to rival other titles as well in the future.
Is Riot Games Investing All of its Resources in VALORANT?
No. Each game has its own budget and Riot Games makes sure not to siphon resources from one game to another. That’s why games like Legends of Runeterra have extremely low prize support while games like League of Legends and VALORANT reach $2.25 million in prize pools in their events. Aside from prize distribution, Riot Games makes sure to promote all of their games equally so that they’ll be able to reach more people to participate and watch these events.
VALORANT is supporting its esports scene with its own earnings and Riot Games isn’t giving showing favoritism towards this title. Naturally, Riot Games needs to make sure that they promote VALORANT aggressively since it is a new title that exists to compete against other tactical FPS titles. However, it’s not correct to think that Riot Games is pushing aside their other money-makers for the sake of VALORANT.
People keep saying that Riot Games is replacing League of Legends with VALORANT since it looks like the esports is receiving more support and coverage as compared to their main game. However, the only reason that VALORANT seems to be popping up more is that it has more events as compared to League of Legends which only has two major events each year. There’s also the fact that VALORANT is only less than 3 years old which means it hasn’t established its footing yet in the community.
League of Legends receives a lot of support from Riot Games but there’s really no need to promote it as much as how much they’re promoting VALORANT since the game already has solid roots in the gaming world. If ever VALORANT provides a higher prize pool, it is only because the game is performing better than League of Legends in terms of sales in both the game itself and the associated events such as esports tournaments.
Why Doesn’t Riot Games Sell Items to Increase Prize Support?
It is well-known that Dota 2 uses crowdfunding methods to increase its prize support in The International competitions. In 2021, Dota 2 managed to boast a staggering $40 million prize pool with the champion getting $18.2 million (45.5% of the overall share). However, you might be surprised to know that the initial prize pool for The International 2021 is only $1.6 million with the remaining $38.4 million coming from the community.
Riot Games is a company that tries to avoid monetizing its games too much and only really focuses on selling cosmetic items. They have many other items for sale such as loot boxes, battle passes, merchandise, and event tickets. With these alone, the company and its respective departments are properly funded and they can provide high prize support, incentives, promotions, and other expenditures for each esports event.
Should League of Legends Raise its Prize Pool?
The VALORANT Champions 2023 prize pool definitely makes some League of Legends fans jealous but it’s important to understand that Riot Games has very little influence on the distribution of funds. It might sound absurd that the company has no control over the movement of money within its own competitions but keep in mind each esports has its own departments and the prize support depends entirely on the performance of the game throughout the entire season.
The only way for League of Legends to overtake the value of the VALORANT Champions 2023 prize pool is for the game to reach the same popularity it had during its golden years from 2016-2018. However, the steady decline of popularity in regions like North America, Japan, and Europe means that it might never reach that level of popularity again in the future.