So what is it about CS:GO that makes it such a perfect platform for international esports? Let’s learn a little more about the game and its history to assess that point.
What is CS:GO?
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is termed a “multiplayer first-person shooter” video game. What that epithet actually means is simply that the player’s perspective is through the eyes of a character on the team.
The term “shooter” tends to imply the sole aim is to shoot opponents in the game. That’s true enough, but there is also a heavy element of strategy involved in CS:GO to ensure a team’s victory. It is these strategic team elements that lend the game an extra dimensionand make it so appealing to players.
Teams achieve victory not necessarily by killing all their opponents, though that is one way teams can be successful, but by completing an objective based on the mission in question. This may be defusing or setting off a bomb or securing flag positions for your team.
As well as different objectives, there are a number of different maps upon which of the rounds can be played. Each map has different properties and items where players can hide out or take cover from opponents.
CS:GO was originally designed to be played across multiple platforms, but now in terms of esports, the PC version is most popular. The game can be purchased online from Steam for around £15. Once you have downloaded the game, simply log in and try it out.
Where did CS:GO come from?
CS:GO is the fourth game in the Counter-Strike series. It was released back in August 2012. It has six different game modes and features the same two teams, the terrorists and the counter-terrorists, with players randomly assigned to one of the teams before the game starts.
At the end of each game, player performance is analyzed, and players are rewarded with in-game currency. The currency is used to purchase powerful weaponry to be used in subsequent games.
The six main game modes are:
- Arms Race
- Weapons Course
Casual and Deathmatch are not as competitive as the other four modes. In them, players cannot collide with members of their own team, and deaths by friendly fire are disabled. These two modes are generally regarded in the CS:GO community as “practice modes.” Weapons Course is an offline practice mode that allows players the chance to learn to use different weapons.
Matchmaking is used to put players of similar skill levels together on the CS:GO servers, and it also runs anti-cheating software to encourage fair play.
Upgrades and esports
Following the release of the game in 2012, its developer, Valve, has continued to release upgrades to the software. Since then, and as the game’s player base has grown into the millions, it become a real focus for esports gaming.
At the highest level, CS:GO esports is a highly professional scene involving professional teams and a mixture of third-party hosted tournaments and Valve-organized events, which are referred to as the Majors.
The Majors are the most prestigious esports tournaments for CS:GO. They have the largest prize pools, and their value has risen from the original level of $250,000 up to the $1 million available at last year’s MLG Columbus, for example. As esports gaming has grown in popularity, and with CS:GO being particularly suited to the platform, TV companies are now starting to broadcast games live, such as those at the ELEAGUE Major 2017.
CS:GO is now the focus of many different tournaments at a wide variety of levels around the globe and throughout the year. It has also developed a strong presence in the esports betting.
The top CS:GO esports tournaments
The following events and series are the cream of the crop in terms of CS:GO. These events carry the most prestige and are often played offline at a variety of venues with thousands of spectators paying to watch and millions watching online or on TV.
- World Electronic Sports Games
- ELEAGUE Major
- ESL Pro League & Finals
- DreamHack Masters & Series
- Intel Extreme Masters
- StarLadder i-League StarSeries
- Esports Championship Series & Finals
- ESL One Series
- PGL Major
- ESG Tour
The biggest prize pool in CS:GO esports history was the $1.5 million at the World Electronic Sports Games in January.
The best CS:GO esports teams
Although no official ranking exists for CS:GO, the following teams are rated by many experts as the very best on the planet.
- G2 Esports
- Gambit Esports
- SK Gaming
- FaZe Clan
- Natus Vincere
- Team Liquid
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Team OpTic
- Team EnVyUs
- Liquid Gaming
- Team Dignitas
How could I become a professional CS:GO player?
You’ll need a desktop or laptop PC to start, and the better your memory, graphics card, and processor, the better. Then, download the Steam client software and create an account. These are free and easy to set up. Purchase, download, and install the game, and you’re ready to roll.
Use the practice modes to develop an understanding of how CS:GO. Even at the lowest levels, there will be players far more skilled than total beginners. Once you have practiced your skills, then you can get into the more competitive modes.
The next step isn’t really a step; it’s a rare mandate, a prayer even. To play on any of the teams listed above, you need to be an exceptional esports athlete. I don’t just mean being able to beat your family or friends but literally every other amateur player you encounter.
You could try to set up your own team to get noticed, or begin competing in minor tourneys. Start to win in these events, and your team could well get noticed and progress onto more prestigious events. Of course, the competition gets better and better.
Prove yourself good enough at these lower levels, and your team may find itself trying to qualify for the bigger money events. But be warned: this is a very difficult thing to achieve in what is fast becoming one of the most competitive arenas in esports gaming.