Have you ever wondered who is behind ValorLeaks? Esports.gg sat down with Mike to discuss the how and why of his VALORANT leak account.
If you're a VALORANT fanatic, then you know ValorLeaks. Boasting over 1 million followers on X, Mike is the go-to source for many when it comes to new VALORANT content. His leaks and datamined information get players excited for what's next in the Riot Games first-person shooter.
And per his words, he doesn't often talk to people about what he does. That is, unless they reach out to him. Which we did. We sat down for a chat with the man behind ValorLeaks to get an idea of how he does it, why, and what else he's up to.
Who is ValorLeaks?
The simple answer to who is ValorLeaks, is that his name is Mike. Born in Florida, he now lives in North Carolina. Mike is a full-time college student on top of the 24/7 duties that come with running the ValorLeaks account on X (formerly Twitter).
It's only natural that his focus in college is on video games. He studies computer science, with a specificity in game development. It's a wonder how he has any time to deliver the VALORANT goods, but he manages to pull it off.
How it started and how far it has come
Before VALORANT, Mike datamined Fortnite as a hobby. He never publicized anything, but did it to hone his skills. That transferred into the Riot Games FPS wonderfully. And now he is hands down the most notable leaker in the scene.
Believe it or not, it was a spur of the moment decision to start up ValorLeaks. "ValorLeaks came about mainly from a dare," Mike told us, "And then on the first day, it just took off and I guess I'm kind of stuck with this now."
That dare has led to over a million followers on X and millions more eyes on what he's delivered. He's created a recognizable brand that didn't blow up over night, but rather steadily became the number one page for upcoming VALORANT content.
It took around three years, about the lifespan of the game currently, to reach the following he has now. In December 2022, ValorLeaks reached that sweet million in terms of followers. He knows the just how much reach the account has.
"It has kind of just reached everyone in VALORANT, where at this point, I believe the majority of people know the name ValorLeaks. Which is very interesting to me."
Relationship with Riot and the VALORANT community
At times, ValorLeaks has been the talk of the community. When asked about some of the most successful leaks, Mike mentioned a couple of Agents first, "I know Fade and Gecko were big, monumental ones. I remember Fade because of how large it was for my size at the time.
"And then Gecko on how much backlash I got. I will never forget that day. Those two are definitely the ones that I can specifically remember, but there are a ton." The next one that comes to mind is everyone's favorite pseudo-Duelist Sentinel Agent, Chamber.
"I remember putting it out when in class. And as an experiment, I turned on my notifications, which I never do. It completely crashed my phone for like an hour and a half because everything was still loading in. I was like, 'Oh my god, I can't use my phone.' What if there was something else I needed to cover?"
Of course, this has led to an up and down relationship with Riot Games and the community. Some fans love seeing the new content before it is officially announced. Others believe he's doing the developers a disservice by showing off their hard work.
When it comes to Riot, he says they don't want to associate with leaks any further. He calls the relationship "mutual neutral." They don't talk unless they have to, but that hasn't prevented him from obtaining as much information as he has in the past.
Often times they'll reach out and ask where he got the details of a leak. He typically tells them, "You already know where you sent it. You should be able to track it down." Because aside from datamining and things simply being posted early, assets are sent to him by undisclosed individuals.
The end goal of ValorLeaks
Unfortunately, everything has a shelf life in this world. That includes ValorLeaks. In our conversation, we asked him what he hopes to have accomplished when all is said and done.
"I believe I've accomplished everything I needed to. Where do I take it from here? I don't believe I'll be doing this much longer. Being completely transparent. It is very taxing on my mental health."
It is easy to see how these responsibilities on top of the other IRL duties can take a toll. Back to the Gekko reveal, Mike says that was the first time he really felt people were upset with him. He even had Riot Games staff reach out personally to make sure he was doing okay.
There is a chance that one day, ValorLeaks could suddenly vanish. That doesn't mean he'll just up and disappear completely, though. He has a lot he still wants to release and some personal projects he's working on that he hopes the VALORANT community will enjoy.
"I have a program I've been developing, which is going to be like a FACEIT ESEA queue system for VALORANT. It should be hopefully releasing in the near future," Mike says. He's still got some bugs to work out, but it will be open source for anyone to use.
Mike is also working on a first-person shooter game when he's not spilling the beans on ValorLeaks. That one is going to take a bit more time, but his words are that "it's a fun one." Other smaller undisclosed projects slot in next to it all.
To finish our chat, Mike humbly stated that what he does with ValorLeaks isn't anything special. He feels he's done the best he can and if he decides to step back, perhaps there is a possibility that someone else takes over. Regardless of his statement, he has clearly made an impact with the VALORANT community that has not and most likely will not be replicated.