Riot Games is one of the biggest believers in free-to-play, but its approach to Valorant microtransactions is a little different.
Valorant, Riot Games’ recently revealed 5v5 tactical shooter, will be free-to-play just like League of Legends and the rest of the studio’s portfolio.
Riot confirmed to Polygon that Valorant will sell cosmetics for real money, but not through loot boxes. The same cosmetics could also be unlocked through the Battle Pass. In general, the developer wants dedicated players to earn cosmetics simply by playing.
While Riot did confirm weapon skins and sprays for Valorant, it also revealed that character skins may not arrive for a while. Selling skins is a big business for League of Legends as well as other free-to-play games, but Riot doesn’t want to mess with the competitive balance in Valorant.
While skins would only ever change the look of characters, Riot is worried about situations where it becomes harder to identify characters while playing. All heroes in Valorant have the same hitbox for an ultra-competitive, fair playing field.
“I think [character skins] would have to be in a way that there’s absolutely nothing to impact the gameplay,” said executive producer, Anna Donlon.
“It’ll be narrow. I think there’s a way to do that. And those are things that we’re interested in exploring.”
Valorant launches this summer, with a beta planned in the next couple of months.