Overwatch’s top professional player is moving on to a new game. Today Jay “Sinatraa” Won left the Overwatch League’s San Francisco Shock, and ESPN is reporting that it’s so he can switch to a different title: Riot’s new team shooter Valorant, which is currently in closed beta. Won will reportedly compete for esports organization Sentinels, which is also home to Fortnite World Cup champion Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf. The player has confirmed his departure from the Shock, while Sentinels have teased a new Valorant team.
Won made headlines last year with a dominating season. His team won the OWL grand finals, while he took home the MVP award; he followed that up by winning the Overwatch World Cup title (and another MVP award) as part of team USA.
While it’s still in closed beta, Valorant has already proved hugely popular, breaking Twitch viewership records as major streamers flocked to it. The tactical shooter, which blends elements of Counter-Strike and Overwatch, seems ready-made to become the next big esport.
He came, he saw and he conquered.
— San Francisco Shock (@SFShock) April 28, 2020
That said, Riot hasn’t yet announced formal plans for a professional league to support the game, and will instead focus on community-led events for the time being. “There’s no doubt that, as a hyper-competitive experience, Valorant has the ingredients to be a successful esport and we have big dreams for what this can be, but we want to be thoughtful in how we put it all together,” Riot’s senior director of esports Whalen “Magus” Rozelle wrote in a blog post.
Of course, the developer has a long history in competitive gaming, operating multiple long-running professional leagues for League of Legends, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Many players and teams appear to be banking on that stability as they try to get in early with the competitive Valorant scene.
Won’s departure comes at an awkward time for OWL, which is currently in the midst of its third season. The league recently shifted to an online structure, and this week announced plans to introduce a mid-season tournament for May. Won also isn’t the only high-profile departure from Blizzard’s pro league; last year OWL commissioner Nate Nanzer left to join Fortnite developer Epic Games.