It’s no secret that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been struggling to maintain a steady viewership for its major international tournaments. With its peak having almost exclusively occurred in early 2013, the game seemed like it would fade into obscurity when CS 1.6 stopped being relevant (in terms of tournaments) and teams switched over to CSGO Esports. However, the FPS game has done just the opposite and is now experiencing a massive resurgence in popularity in late 2015.
To those new to Counter-Strike or those who only started watching America’s Major League Gaming tournaments about a year ago, it may be hard to believe that there was a time when this was not the case. For nearly two years, CSGO events had little-to-no hype surrounding them and even less viewership.
After viewing the most recent major (DreamHack Cluj-Napoca 2015) at my home with some friends, I can say that it has grown by leaps and bounds since its first international showing at ESL One Cologne 2014.
Talking about the problems faced by CSGO Esports:
But even now, significant tournaments are struggling to maintain a consistent viewership on Twitch. Tv and the number of concurrent viewers have reached an all-time low since early 2013. And while we’ve seen an increase in prize pools for various premier events, the truth is that without increased viewership and hype surrounding these tournaments, it may be a long time before the organizations hosting them can break even, much less turn a profit.
So then why has CSGO Esports been making such a resurgence as of late? I believe that Valve’s rapid rise to its current position in esports is not due to CSGO itself but instead the influence and success its predecessor had.
Counter-Strike, also known as CSGO Esports, is one of the most popular multiplayer games ever to exist. Its still sits among the top 5 games with the most significant player base on Steam. Counter-Strike has more than enough room to continue growing and introducing new players to the series every year, given how old its fanbase is. And if a new player is a fan of online first-person shooters, the odds are that they will also become a fan of Counter-Strike.
In addition, CSGO has one of the most developed and mature communities out there, with thousands upon thousands of people sharing their guides, tips, tricks, and even watching almost every single professional match. Everyone loves CS, but there are still dozens of people out there who have never ventured into the competitive scene, myself included.
And while the game may feel very different from what you’re used to playing in casual matchmaking, it’s still Counter-Strike at its core and every bit as fun, if not more so, because of how competitive it can be.
Is CSGO Esports still alive among its community?
While the game is still alive and well among its community, many people are likely to remain on the outside looking in unless Valve decides to put some real support behind CSGO Esports. Between subpar spectator tools (no casters or GOTV for fans), no built-in support for streams (you need 3rd party plugins like this one), and no support for lucrative online leagues or tournaments, CSGO is still only a shadow of its former self.
Until Valve decides to put out official support, there isn’t much reason for casual players to take the plunge into the competitive scene. While this might not have been an issue just half a year ago, it’s now a serious concern. As more and more tournaments adopt CSGO as their FPS title of choice, this lack of support is going to make it increasingly difficult for these organizations to stay afloat, much less turn a profit.
Talking about recent complaints of CSGO Esports:-
In the end, complaints about CSGO not being relevant is nothing new, but now that its predecessor has been replaced by Overwatch and the sequel has been delayed for an indefinite amount of time, CSGO Esports is in danger of becoming a serious problem.
As someone who grew up playing Counter-Strike 1.5/1.6 and has followed its competitive scene since early 2012, it’s painful to see such a great game struggle to get noticed when it should be flying off the shelves.
Ultimately, I believe that the best way forward would be for Valve to develop an official spectator client and online league system specifically designed with CSGO in mind. Even this may seem like a lot of work just to keep its current player base happy, and it’s not as if there aren’t 5+ years worth of veterans out there who are even more than willing to help in any way they can.
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