VALORANT’s closed beta only just started a month ago, but it’s attracted significant attention from the esports community at large. Now it’s also succeeding in stealing professional players from competing titles like CS:GO and Overwatch. The latest casualties? Ryan “Freakazoid” Abadir of CS:GO fame and Corey “Corey” Nigra of Overwatch.
Freaky moves by Freakazoid
In a surprise announcement that few expected, Ryan “Freakazoid” Abadir stated that he would be quitting CS:GO to pursue a career in playing VALORANT. This is further evidence of the influence created by this game still in its early stages of beta. Not only has VALORANT beat out Fortnite in viewership on Twitch, but now it’s compelling professional players to change games entirely.
Freakazoid was originally part of the Cloud9 team, which featured the talents of Shroud, Sean Gares, Skadoodle, and nOthing, a dream team that could have changed history. While that didn’t happen as anticipated, Freakazoid continued playing CS:GO with a variety of other teams.
But he knows his way around the business and has experience with several organizations. Some of those include big industry names like Echo Fox, eUnited, and, of course, Cloud9. Freakazoid’s change of titles may surprise many, but for professional players, this illustrates that players have been looking for a new game to focus on.
Corey moves on as well
One could easily argue that Blizzard’s Overwatch redefined the first-person shooter genre when it was released. Players loved how it changed the dynamics of the game format. But all good things must eventually come to an end. This latest end comes for Corey “Corey” Nigra who just announced his retirement from Overwatch and a new career in VALORANT.
This may not come as a surprise to many, it is still depressing news. Considering the craze surrounding VALORANT’s closed beta, it was inevitable. Corey is far from the first to change their contract games. Several pro streamers are already dedicating their channels to streaming VALORANT.
Overwatch is far from dead, but it still needs to make some massive changes if it wants to keep a solid player base despite new titles like VALORANT releasing. But it is only natural for a title to replace something that’s been out for years. Corey announced his departure from the game with a long thank you note.
Corey left a long emotional goodbye message on his Twitter account to mark his departure from the Overwatch scene. In it, he said: “I’m leaving to pursue a game that really hit home for me. Valorant. When I was younger, I had the ambition to go pro in Counter-Strike. Seeing Valorant as a hybrid between CS and OW, this looks like the game that was made for me. I’ll be pursuing all opportunities available to me and will start up hitting the grind. A long side that grind, I’ll begin streaming regularly and begin looking for editors/artists to work with for the future. I’d like to start pushing out videos and making my twitch channel really nice with amazing art and emotes 😀 Hopefully, one day, you will see me on stage again for Valorant. (Please stay safe during this time<3).”
A new paradigm shift
Corey and Freakazoid are far from the last of those that will end their career with one title only to pick it up with something shiny and new. Sinatra, formerly of League of Legends, also shifted to VALORANT. Tenzera was the first player from Team Liquid to make the shift to this new title.
It’s still early into VALORANT’s rise, so there is much left to be seen. Few tournaments have even taken place yet, so there is still significant growth to be seen in the esports industry for this title.