Riot has announced the introduction of the VCT Game Changers Series and VCT Game Changers Academy designed to give "new opportunities and exposure for women and other marginalized genders within VALORANT esports."
These events are not designed to replace Valorant Champions Tour competition for the teams competing within them, but will instead give them additional opportunities on top of Valorant's premier tournament series.
Riot says its VCT Game Changers Series events "will take place in multiple regions around the world during 2021 and will be similar in scale to last year's Ignition Series tournaments." Notably, the final North American Ignition Series event was the all-woman FTW Summer Showdown which was won by the roster that later became Cloud9 White Cloud9 White North America Rank #48 .
This series of tournaments will begin in late March starting with the North American event.
The VCT Game Changers Academy tournaments will be monthly tournaments designed to give players an opportunity to compete at the semi-pro and grassroots level. These academy tournaments will be organized in partnership with GALORANTs, who also helped organize the aforementioned FTW Summer Showdown.
Riot has not revealed when the Game Changers Academy tournaments will first begin and exactly which regions will have such tournaments.
Currently, participation from women and openly non-binary people in the Valorant Champions Tour has been sparse. The most successful all-women's team has been C9W in North America, who made it to the Ro32 in the first Challengers qualifier and were eliminated in the Ro64 in the second qualifier. Evil Geniuses signed a roster that includes both men and women which also competes in North America.
The goal for Riot with these new tournaments is to increase the participation and competitiveness of such rosters in the Valorant Champions Tour and beyond.