Valorant download: how to play Riot's biggest shooter

How to manage the Valorant download

Valorant download: Viper, Pheonix, Sova, Jett and Cipher stand in a row
(Image: © Riot Games)

Getting the Valorant download is a pretty easy process and one well worth doing if you have any interest in trying out Riot Game’s increasingly popular tactical shooter. The good news is you’re only a few clicks away from joining the fun too. 

Valorant’s meteoric rise has been impressive to watch, with the game now sitting consistently in the Twitch top 5 every month (via SulleyGnome (opens in new tab)). It also has a thriving esports scene and what’s best is that it's free to play, so anyone can jump in and try their hand at it. 

Best described as Counter-Strike but with special abilities, there is a whole roster of agents, like Neon and Jett, to learn, alongside a ton of maps and angles to master. It's a fun title and it’s no wonder it's become such a massive hit, what with Riot’s unmatched expertise in managing live-service games. 

However, where do you begin if you want to join the foray, but don’t know how to jump in? Well, being here is a good start. We can walk you through the process of downloading the game, and how to get an account. 

Valorant download

How to download Valorant

Valorant download: Two agents in Valorant standing back-to-back

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Downloading Valorant is a pretty easy process, and you should be able to get it on your PC within a couple of minutes. 

To begin, head over to the Valorant website (opens in new tab). Once here, there will be a big 'Play Free' button at the top of the page. Hit this, and it will prompt you to either sign in with a Riot account or make one. If you’ve played a game like League of Legends or Teamfight Tactics, you will have a Riot account you can use to sign in. 

If you don’t have a Riot account, select the 'Make One' button. From here, the signup process is fairly straightforward. You can even create one in a couple of clicks by using a Facebook, Google, or Apple account that you're already signed in to. 

Once you’ve signed in with your Riot account, hit the 'Download' button on the new page. This will then ask you to verify your age (you need to be at least 16 years old to download Valorant). Then finally hit 'Download' again, which will actually start your Valorant download.

Now that you have it installed, go through the standard install process. Once you’ve done this, you should be good to jump in and start your journey to becoming a great player. 

Valorant download: what is Vanguard?

Valorant download: Neon using her High Gear ability

(Image credit: Riot Games)

As part of the download process, you'll notice a new program being installed called Vanguard. This is Riot Games’ anti-cheat which runs in the background when playing their games. It tracks your PC processes while you are gaming to check there's no malicious third-party software running at the same time to give you an advantage. 

You mustn’t end this process if you intend to play Valorant, as the game will refuse to run without it. While it’s understandable if you don’t want it running on your computer if you are not playing, it is a necessity when you are. 

That being said, Valorant has one of the best online anti-cheats in the world, and cheaters are regularly identified and kicked out before too long, so for the health of the game, it feels like a worthwhile concession. 

Patrick Dane
Gaming Guides Editor

Patrick Dane is TechRadar Gaming's Guides Editor. With nearly a decade in the games press, he's been a consistent voice in the industry. He's written for a plethora of major publications and travelled the world doing it. He also has a deep passion for games as a service and their potential to tell evolving stories. To wit, he has over 2000 hours in Destiny 2, over 1000 in Overwatch and is now deeply into Valorant.