Is CSGO Dead?

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Released in 2012, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) was for many years the world’s leading esports game. With over a decade of history, the game remained relatively consistent. While other developers rushed to release reworks and rehashes of their game series, CSGO maintained an ‘if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it’ mentality that saw it stay on top. But with the release of Counter-Strike 2 in September 2023, CSGO was entirely superseded. So now when you ask “is CSGO dead?” the unfortunate answer is likely yes.

CS2 Replaces CSGO

Normally, when a new version of a game is released, the previous edition will slowly die out, with players shifting to the newer version, and other holdouts sticking with the original. Examples like this are rife, with franchises like Dota, Call of Duty, StarCraft, and others all having strong player bases for their previous editions who didn’t move to the new version.

In the case of CSGO, when CS2 received a full release, it was entirely overwritten. CSGO’s only platform was Steam, owned by Counter-Strike developer Valve. CS2 was slowly released in a limited beta throughout 2023 as part of the CSGO package on the platform. Then, in September 2023, CS2 was released fully, entirely replacing CSGO on the platform. Everyone who had CSGO in their library now instead owned CS2, meaning CSGO was effectively dead. But that’s not exactly the entire story, as there are ways to still play CSGO.

Is CSGO Dying?

Economic Impact of CSGO

CSGO has created a remarkable legacy over the past decade. It has been the leading esports game for many years, and it has given way to the creation of a skins market worth billions of dollars. It was of the most bet on esports games in history, and the tournaments within its ecosystem are quite simply legendary. It’s a hugely valuable franchise that has given rise to some of the most recognizable esports competitors ever. It doesn’t matter what aspect of the industry you look at – CSGO was the king, ranking highly in every respect.

In terms of online betting, CS2 betting is available on almost every betting platform on the internet. There is still the question of whether CS2 will see the same level of success but with pro leagues and Counter-Strike tournaments moving straight onto the new game after the Paris Major, bettors and fans won’t be far behind.

How to Play CS:GO Post-CS2 Release

CSGO, despite being overwritten by CS2, can be played using Steam’s Beta participation system. To do this, you’ll need to:

  1. Head to your Counter-Strike 2 installation on steam and right-click it.
  2. Select Properties, and select the Betas tab.
  3. From the Beta Participation dropdown menu, select “csgo-legacy.”

This will allow you to play CSGO from its final build in September 2023. When playing this mode there are a limited number of servers and players who have refused to switch to CS2, and are sticking it out with CSGO.

CSGO Player Count in 2024

Image via SteamDB

Unfortunately, there’s not a widely available reliable way to measure the player count of CSGO in 2024. CS2 now has the same Steam ID as CSGO, so on tracking sites like Steam Charts and SteamDB, you won’t be able to track the player base. CSGO’s player numbers were also inflated in the latter portion of 2023 by the increased number of people downloading and playing CSGO in attempts to access the CS2 Beta. However, estimates suggest at peak times there are several thousand players playing legacy versions of CSGO.

The Popularity of CSGO Esports Events

CS:GO’s esports scene has been a leading driver of the industry for many years. It has essentially worked to lay the foundation that allowed many other platforms have grown. Even today, a decade after its launch, Counter-Strike remains the most popular esports game in the world. For many years there was very little direct competition to CSGO, aside from VALORANT, which was first introduced in 2020. This is essentially a carbon copy of CSGO. It’s a hero shooter as opposed to a standard FPS title, and it boasts bright colors and more diverse mechanics.

But as a legacy game with no immediately obvious way to play it, there’s little to no tournament support. As a result, it might be expected that CSGO will die out completely. However, this is unlikely. There are many mods, legacy players, and small-scale competitions that still support CSGO. There were also tournaments for the game as late as early 2024. However, going forward, support will increasingly dwindle. It’s unlikely the game will ever see a resurgence.

Still Going Strong

With the release of CS2, Counter-Strike as a franchise is stronger than ever. The game has reached even higher peaks than with the free-to-play release of CSGO, and has dozens of global tournaments and leagues dedicated to the game. CSGO has built an incredible foundation for CS2 that the sequel can benefit from for years, possibly decades to come. And while CSGO, the game that turned Counter-Strike into a global phenomenon, is dead, the franchise and game style will live on through CS2.

Key Takeaways

  • In terms of being a top-level esport, the game of CSGO is dead.
  • It has entirely been superseded by CS2, all the major pro-players and best CSGO teams have switched.
  • No major tournaments are being run for the game.
  • People do still play the legacy versions of the game, but they’re a tiny proportion.
  • Old versions of games will always have a level of support from dedicated players, but for CSGO, the competition provided by CS2 might just be too much.
Michael Hassall Avatar
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Michael Hassall

Michael has worked in the esports industry for five years after giving up a promising career in marketing. A professional writer for almost a decade, and a lifelong gamer, writing about esports is his one true passion, when he’s not glued to a screen playing the games he writes about.

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