One of the world’s most famous gamers is returning to the world of competitive esports. On July 8th, Michael Grzesiek, or as you probably know him: Shroud, announced that he was returning to the competitive gaming scene as a member of Sentinels.
In a tweet sent out by the company, it was revealed that Shroud would be joining Sentinels’ VALORANT roster. The tweet was accompanied by a 38-second video that starts out focused on a mug being filled by a coffee machine. Eventually, the mug is picked up by a figure who we then see walk outside. As the video continues, the camera pans up to reveal the person holding the mug was Shroud, who also happens to be wearing a Sentinels jersey with his name. After that, Shroud turns around and simply says into the camera, “I’m back baby.” The screen then flashes the words Sentinels Shroud before returning back to Shroud one more time, allowing him to say, “I heckin love TenZ,” a reference to fellow Sentinels gamer Tyson “TenZ” Ngo.
Dot Esports is saying that Shroud will be taking on the controller role during the team’s upcoming run at the North American VALORANT Champions Tour Last Chance Qualifier. Sources that spoke to Dot Esports confirmed that Shroud will compete in the VCT Champions if Sentinels makes it past the Last Chance Qualifier.
So far, Shroud has confirmed that Shahzeb Khan, aka ShahZaM, will still be a member of Sentinels’ VALORANT team. It’ll be great to see Shroud once again out there after stepping away from competitive gaming in 2017.
The Profit‘s Take:
Sentinels comes on the podcast. Shroud unretires to join Sentinels. The math there is obvious. There aren’t a lot of specifics to this story. However, we can assume they probably offered him a substantial amount of money. We have seen many pro players become streamers, but we don’t see a lot of streamers return to pro playing, especially for a new game (in this case VALORANT). It seems like this is an obvious win for Riot and Sentinels (assuming they didn’t pay Shroud $20 million and give him a significant ownership stake in the company). I just don’t understand the upside for Shroud here. Maybe he’s at the point where he has so much money that he doesn’t care about making any more, so he’s just interested in having fun. This could just be a love of the game situation. But, I think it has been proven that the top earning content creators are variety streamers that grind multiple games. Shroud would be clearly giving up a part of his audience if he ONLY streamed CS:GO for six hours a day. I’m sure he’s giving something up in terms of lost revenue or lost audience. There’s also a brand downside for him here. Shroud retired when he was a legend and the face of CS:GO. So, an aura had been created around him. Now, if he goes out and sucks at VALORANT, that could definitely tarnish his legacy. This is a clear brand risk in a situation where he is unlikely to increase his revenue by taking said risk. I’m sure Shroud’s agents shopped this around. It wasn’t a one-off conversation. Personally, I would’ve been more excited to see a situation where a gamer plays professionally in their teens and twenties, retires, takes a normal desk job for 15 years, and then makes a professional comeback.