Counter-Strike is perhaps the oldest gaming series that’s still active in the competitive esports’ environment, starting as a Half-Life mod back in the ‘90s, the release of the 1.6 version of the game stood as a premiere competitive experience right up until 2013, and the 2004 release of the Source version of the game did the same and attracted a huge audience to what is largely considered the most competitive FPS series in esports.
The 2013 release of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive brought the two audiences together, and after a rocky launch held esteem as the pinnacle of esports with impressive tournaments, fantastic talent, and everything fans would want to see from a competitive title.
For many, Counter-Strike also gave birth to much more than just a great game, although marred in some controversy early on with the skins gambling market, the success of a secondary market had helped launch new options like esports bitcoin betting which has become extremely popular, bigger sponsors involved in this space, and fantastic third-party tournaments added to the schedule too.
September 27th brought about the release of the latest update in Counter-Strike’s long history as Global Offensive was ported over to the new Source 2 engine after a long period of beta testing, and brought about the official release of Counter-Strike 2 – whilst not a new game, a significant upgrade to the existing title and something slated to facilitate huge changes to the game over the next decade and evolving the game past the limits it found itself with on the old engine.
It’s safe to say that the release hasn’t been as smooth as some people would like, a handful of missing features from the previous game sparked some frustrations from players and other issues with the servers, ranking system, and core gameplay mechanics have left a number of players questioning whether this truly is an update – the most notable has been Valve’s new “sub-tick” system which is currently surrounded in questions of whether it actually is an upgrade to the previous approach, if it’s causing many of these issues, or if these are just the expected teething problems to come from a new launch.
No competitive game has ever launched in a perfect state, these are after all live service games that require consistent updates to address imbalance, bugs that may appear further down the line, and just to shake up the regularly played meta too, the other big esports titles have been through the same with even similar games like Valorant having much more egregious bugs.
This is where some excitement comes for Counter-Strike fans, where Global Offensive may have been something of a project, patches and bug fixes, game updates and more were never really all that common and would come on rare occasions often leaving issues unaddressed for weeks and months, it’s a very different picture for CS2 however as the game has received a steady stream of updates since the 27th being pushed out nearly daily and showing a new commitment, and something that many fans hope is a desire to deliver a game that truly can be considered the pinnacle of modern esports.
There’s certainly still a long way to go for the game to be in the state in needs to be in, and then more time needed for the tournament circuit to evolve for the new game too, but there’s certainly an opportunity to revitalize a gaming scene which many have considered has been on the decline for a period of time despite the game itself being bigger than ever, and a fantastic opportunity to grow even further too.