Tencent is planning to launch a Valorant league in China which could come as soon as summer 2023, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The Riot Games shooter has yet to officially release in China and is set to get a domestic launch sometime in 2023. According to a report from Bloomberg, a Valorant esports league could launch soon after the title’s release.
China’s Edward Gaming has made an appearance at Valorant Champions 2022, and two teams from the region have been invited to VCT LOCK//IN, but there have been no Riot Games or Tencent-sponsored leagues or events in the region.
Valorant has not been released in the country due to its recent crackdown on the gaming and tech industry, restricting youth access to games and banning other shooters like PUBG.
But the country has softened its restrictions in the gaming sector, approving the release of Valorant and other titles like Pokémon Unite in December 2022. No launch date has been announced for when Valorant will become available to play in China.
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Valorant esports league in China may come in 2023
This new Chinese league could either be a top league on the level of the international leagues (VCT Americas, EMEA and Pacific) with a direct path to international events, or a second-tier Challengers League that could give teams the chance at promotion into the Pacific league.
The Pacific league features partnered teams from South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Tencent currently operates the League of Legends Pro League in China. The competition is the largest league in the esport, featuring 17 teams, and has generated about $150 million in revenue in its first two years, according to Bloomberg.
Fans of Valorant esports can get a taste of what a Chinese league might look like by watching EDG and FunPlus Phoenix at VCT LOCK//IN as the event kicks off on February 13.