Though there are many games that are played at a professional competitive level, few have dominated the esports landscape quite like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (or CS:GO to those who love it). CS:GO is easily the most-viewed esports title on Twitch, and a legion of devoted fans don’t just tune into it whenever it’s being aired but also play it religiously and share play tips with one another. It’s fair to say that CS:GO is the dominant esports game in the landscape right now, so let’s take a look at what Valve’s long-running first-person shooter has done to earn such a privilege.
It’s one of the best competitive first-person shooters around
This is one of the simplest reasons for CS:GO’s continued popularity, but it’s also one of the most persuasive ones. There’s simply no arguing with the fact that CS:GO’s game design is extremely solid and that its gameplay systems are well-implemented. Everything in CS:GO just works, so whether you’re a new player or a returning professional looking to get back into the game, CS:GO offers one of the best competitive shooter experiences around. It’s no wonder people keep flocking to it over and over again as an esport.
The betting economy is robust
One of the most important ways for the esports economy to make money is with betting. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive offers lots of different ways for players to bet – skin betting, in-game betting, and more – and the economy is robust and thriving for this particular aspect of CS:GO. Thanks to websites like EsportsBetting.gg/csgo, if you’re an interested party, you can always find good betting platforms on which to place CS:GO bets and expect solid returns for your investment. CS:GO makes a respectable amount of money for the esports industry, and a lot of that is down to betting.
It looks easy, but it’s deep
For a new player, CS:GO is appealingly simple. You’re dropped onto a map, given a weapon, and told to shoot at the enemy team. What more could there be to the game? Well, the answer is that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is much more in-depth and detailed than that. Map strategy, team play, and macro are all crucial if you want to understand how CS:GO works as an esport. The difference between pro play and amateur play when it comes to CS:GO is pretty vast, so if you’re feeling like getting humbled, check out an esports montage of the game and watch how the pros do it.
Anyone can jump in and try it
Like many esports games, CS:GO is free to play. That means anyone can jump into a game whenever they like as long as they’ve got the right software and hardware to play the game. You’ll need a Steam account, but every self-respecting gamer has one of those already. There’s a reason why Steam is still far and away the most popular digital distribution service on PC, despite battling stiffer and stiffer competition. No matter who you are or what kind of games you’ve enjoyed in the past, you can head onto Steam and try out a game of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
There are still plenty of CS:GO tournaments
Despite what you might have heard about high-level CS:GO events winding down, there are still lots of CS:GO tournaments out there. DreamHack, IEM Katowice, and the BLAST Premier are just some of the most popular Global Offensive esports events, and there’s always action to be had in other major esports leagues as well. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive still commands impressive prize pools of over a million dollars for its teams, too, so it’s in no danger of becoming obsolete or replaced by other esports titles any time soon.
The system requirements are reasonable
CS:GO originally launched in August 2012. As such, it’s asking for the kind of system specs you might expect from a game that launched eight years ago. If you don’t have a top-of-the-range gaming PC with blinky LEDs and a ludicrously powerful graphics card, there’s no need to panic; you can still happily play CS:GO. Of course, that’s not necessarily what makes it a popular esport; after all, the pros can easily afford high-spec gear. If regular players can follow along and play themselves, though, then it’s no wonder CS:GO commands the kind of viewership it does in the pro esports scene.
There are teams in every area to root for
No matter where you’re from, you’ll find a professional CS:GO team to root for. Of course, the majority of esports professionals tend to congregate in Eastern Asia or in the USA, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of perfectly respectable British Counter-Strike teams to follow as well. The esports community around Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is pretty inclusive, too, so short of some fun back-and-forth about your favourite esports players, you won’t be judged for who you support if you talk to the wider community about the game.
These are just some of the reasons we think Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the dominant game in the world of esports right now. Despite pretenders to the throne rising in the form of Overwatch, Valorant, and Call of Duty: Warzone, we think CS:GO is still the best first-person shooter in esports. What do you think?