Counter-Strike:Global Offensive, otherwise known as CS:GO is one of the top dawgs in the world of esports and has been for quite some time. Released in August 2012 it only took 1 year before the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships were founded. That’s pretty quick turnaround time. The prize pools were originally placed at $250,000, which have since risen to over $1,000,000.
What makes CS:GO so popular is it’s accessibility to players, donning a mere $14.99 price tag. The affordability of the game allowed players that otherwise wouldn’t or couldn’t, buy it. Not to mention the simple and quick matchmaking system that made playing game after game seamless and almost accidental.
When it takes less than a minute to get into another match and each match only takes about 15 minutes, you can really start to rack up hours without realizing it. That’s really an incredible strategy if you think about it. Valve, developers of CS:GO, are giving the player a fully realized experience, a game from start to finish that takes less than 20 minutes from booting up to (hopefully) that victory screen. That feeling of accomplishment is what drives people to continue playing, on top of all the other things the game does well.
The game has been completely free-to-play since June 6th, 2018. Tack on the fact that most people have been and continue to be stuck at home because of the pandemic, that opens up a massive opportunity for new players.
Another reason CS:GO is so dang cool is SKINS. Who doesn’t love buying some beautiful decals to stick on your P-90 or M4A4? Micro-transactions are quite literally everywhere; in gaming, apps, pretty much any software you can use have them. The simplest might be to stop ads on your favorite free-to-play game.
They can be really useful in increasing a game’s longevity by providing funding that the developers might not otherwise see. They can also kill a game too. EA showed us that. However, for CS:GO they are one of the steam engines that power and keep the train running. There is an incredible amount of varietal skins that you can purchase for any and all weapons. They even have knife skins!
Did I mention that while players can spend money to purchase skins for their weapons, they also have the ability to name their weapons and change the color and style of their gloves. These minor details are HUGE to gamers, ask anyone. I won’t tell you how much I have spent on League of Legends skins…but in the world of CS:GO there exists a trade market; something that I have only ever seen in Diablo.
It’s essentially a free market of buyers and consumers (A.K.A players). You can purchase a skin in-game, then turn around and sell it for cash on the market. It’s not uncommon for people to spend $300 on a skin, and that isn’t even close to the highest selling items! This aspect of the game creates further interest outside of the gaming world and into anyone who wants to make money.
Another reason it has been so popular too is their competitive scene allows betting. Which has brought in new audiences who are there to make money. Where once people would stand watching horses’ race around a track, now they sit and enjoy games streamed online in the comfort of their chair. A benefit from the online era is that there are many sites where you can learn how to make the picks and earn some money from experts at the same time you will be introduce to odds, for example, there are bookies like Bookmaker that offers live odds for tournaments like “The ELS” which is one if not the most viewed CS;GO Esports event
Lastly, the absolute biggest reason CS:GO has been dominating the professional scene for so long is because it is consistent. It’s a game that has relatively easy mechanics and rules. The skill-cap is incredibly high because of these reasons; which only prolongs the life of the game as players are always improving and teams are changing and rearranging their rosters. It’s easy to understand, but difficult to master.
This is something most longstanding games have in common. Think about baseball, it’s not that difficult to know what’s happening but the skill level of players has an enormous window, and the game has an incredible following in multiple countries; it has for many decades. These elements also make the game easier for people to watch and understand the rules, which allows them to almost immediately enjoy themselves.
In short, CS:GO has all the aspects required for a game to have a high player base, viewership, and competitive gaming that stands the test of time.
The only question is, what will happen when VALORANT enters the scene?