Counter Strike: The Game Of Legends
History and Release
The game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, commonly known as CS:GO is a multiplayer, first-person shooting game. The game was developed by Valve as a sequel to the Counter-Strike: Source and was the fourth game of the popular Counter-Strike series. The game was first released in August 2012, with the closed beta version coming in November 2011 for the professional players of previous versions of Counter-Strike. Post the successful and widely accepted release in 2012, the developer company has been rolling out frequent updates to the game in order to maintain smooth gameplay and accommodate the constantly increasing number of players.
Current Trends and Business
Currently, the game is available on almost all gaming platforms, except mobile. This includes gaming consoles such as Xbox, PlayStation and operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. The game initially released as a paid product was announced to be free-to-play and download from the official Steam platform in December 2018. Following the transition from a paid product to a free-to-play product, the major source of revenues for the developer’s Valve is now micro-transactions and in-game purchases, specific to cosmetic items (dubbed skins).
In terms of business, the revenue streams of the game have been constantly on the rise with the game clocking revenue of US $ 414 Million in 2018, as compared to the US $ 221 Million in 2015. The revenue data for 2015 to 2018 can be seen here:
It is also referred to as being one of the “big four” e-sports and has averaged over 11 million monthly players worldwide. One of the major factors for the immense popularity that the game enjoys worldwide is the wide array of cosmetic customization that it offers, primarily for weapons such as knives, rifles and pistols. These customization options are found in crates, and crates are either won in match results or bought in sales.
Owning a particular skin is a matter of pride for the players in their gaming circles and hence the enhanced emphasis on buying skins. While on one hand, this results in increased revenues for the company, on the other hand, it also results in increased popularity as the younger generation, especially the Millenials and gen Z, are driven by FOMO. Coupled with the bragging rights associated with owning skins and getting a higher number of kills in a friendly gaming session is the amazing gameplay that it provides. The two combine to generate the kind of user base that CS: GO enjoys as a game and more so, as an e-sport.
Gameplay and Matchmaking
The game consists of a shooting game between two groups of 5 players each, called the terrorists and the counter-terrorists. The players are matched on a number of factors to create a group of similar players in terms of their rankings and experience in playing the game, as per the online records kept on game servers. To further make the competition between the two teams balanced, usually, the average rankings of players is the same such that none of the teams overpowers the other and the match does not become one-sided.
The matchmaking is handled by Steam servers and also uses Valve Anti-Cheat software to prevent cheating by any of the players. To prevent and minimize the cases of cheating by players, the servers also have a “Matchmaking Cooldown” mode. Players may enter the cooldown mode for a variety of reasons, including repeated team disruption, excessive suiciding, being kicked too often or excessively kicking other players. The cooldown periods vary according to the levels, ranging from 30 minutes to a permanent cooldown.
Introduction of Gaming Mouse and Keyboards
The introduction of gaming mouse and keyboards, with some special features, either in the form of highlights or embossing on the most used gaming keys or some special keys in order to make gameplay and control smoother has also increased the popularity of the game, both in amateur as well as professional gaming circles.
Realizing the potential of these gaming devices and capitalizing on the same, CS:GO also partnered with several device manufacturers to roll out special editions of select gaming mice, keyboards and headsets.
The rarity of skins, coupled with other high-value attributes made them a rarity and since some high-value skins were only available as limited editions and for a limited time period, this gave rise to an online economy of trading skins. This skin-trading was supported by the SteamWorks API and within a short period of time, several sites came up where skins were being bought and sold, and in some cases, even auctioned.
This skin-trading also gave rise to gambling and thus was a matter of legal concern in many countries for a fairly long period of time, as it was feared that it might violate the laws of underage gambling.
On the professional front, there have been many competitions and tournaments for players all over the world. The major championships are commonly called the Majors. These major competitions are organized by various third-party organizers, with the biggest of them even getting sponsored by Valve itself.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and the kind of response that the game has received over the last 8 years, especially by professional gamers all over the world has led to the game gaining widespread acclaim. The game, along with a few others has given rise to a completely new discipline of sport, called e-sports and the same has now become a profession.
The first Major tournament was organized by Valve itself in 2013 and it took place in Sweden. That edition of the Majors had a prize pool of US $ 250,000. The amount of participation that the Majors received in the years that followed saw the prize pool also expand significantly, crossing the US $ 1 million marks in 2016.
Since 2016, the total prize pool of all “organized” CS:GO championships has been rising steadily with the total prize pool of all competitions organized globally reaching the US $ 21.77 Million in 2019. The most notable team of CS:GO players is Astralis, having won 4 Major tournaments and several other global championships. One of the members of the team, Andreas Hojsleth, commonly known as ‘Xyp9x’ is the richest professional CS:GO player in the world, having won over the US $ 1.5 Million, only from prize money.
The game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, launched in 2012 was a remarkable point in the history of gaming. The game not only redefined gaming attributes such as multiplayer gaming, first-person shooting graphics and smooth online gameplay, it also gave rise to an entirely new profession – e-sports. The game also acted as the inspiration behind several other multiplayer, FPS games such as PUBG, Call of Duty mobile, etc.
Valve Entertainment, Steam and Hidden Path Entertainment did a fabulous job and the game, which began as an attempt to port Counter-Strike: Source onto gaming consoles eventually became one of their biggest successes.
Counter Strike: The Game Of Legends