The End of CS:GO


Darin Buenaluz, Staff Writer

Note: CS:GO is rated M15+

For over a decade, Valve’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) has been at the forefront of the eSports world, with numerous different storylines converging with each other throughout the game’s history. Sadly, the game is coming to an end; with the arrival of Counter Strike 2—the next installment of Counter Strike, which promises major graphical updates, gameplay tuning, as well as map overhauls—it is predicted that the original CS:GO will be shut down shortly after Valve finishes transitioning its assets to the new game. 

The beta for CS:GO was released to the world in 2012, with the official game releasing in 2013 and serving as the successor to the aging Counter Strike: Source. Since then, the world of Counter Strike has been known for two things: cosmetics and majors. 

In-game cosmetics are nothing new, but CS:GO has perhaps some of the most iconic (and now expensive) weapon skins in the first person shooter (FPS) genre, such as the “Dragon Lore” AWP signed by Cloud9’s Skadoodle shortly after his championship win at the 2018 ELEAGUE Boston Major, the “Howl” M4A4, and the “Fade” karambit, which you can purchase in “Factory New” condition online for just under $3,000 (no, that is not a lie). Players can acquire these skins and many more through a few different methods. The first is by playing the game; similar to Valve’s other big multiplayer FPS, Team Fortress 2, skins can be obtained through random drops that are earned by gaining XP through playing the game. Secondly, players can purchase skins as part of weapon cases, which can range in price from the mid thirties to hundreds of dollars. Thirdly, CS:GO has a marketplace where players can trade skins through the game’s platform, Steam. While the entire process is both complicated and influenced by major events in the CS:GO scene throughout the year, it is a way for players to negotiate with each other regarding skins they may be interested in acquiring without paying a substantial amount of money to purchase it outside Steam. 

However, with the rise of the popularity of skins also came gambling and betting sites. The process is similar to sports betting, except players will bet their in-game skins as opposed to pure currency in the hopes of their teams of choice winning. While the practice of betting with CS:GO skins has been in a gray area of sorts with weapon skins consistently being a valuable commodity, Valve has taken steps to issue cease and desist orders to several different betting sites in an attempt to curb the amount of money these sites make. Nevertheless, sponsorships from these sites have become commonplace on broadcasts for Majors.

As for the Majors themselves, they have become storybooks for so many and career-defining moments for the few who earn the right to call themselves Major winners. Officially known as Major Championships, Majors are held around the world and are organized by leading companies in the gaming industry including Intel, and FACEIT. For professional CS:GO players, winning a Major means everything and more.

Majors have also given rise to some of the most recognizable eSports organizations and individual players in the world, including: Ukrainian superstar s1mple, who many consider the greatest CS:GO player of all time; American heroes tarik and Stewie2k, who gave North America its first and currently only major win under the Cloud9 banner in 2018; the Danish dynasty of Astralis, who remains the only team to ever win four Majors; and French powerhouse Team Vitality’s star AWPer, Zyw0o, also nicknamed “The Chosen One” for having been born on the release date of CS:GO. 

From the streets of Stockholm, to the bustle of Brazil, to now the nightlights of Paris, Majors have brought together players, casters (those who commentate the game during the live broadcast), and fans of all backgrounds who all share a passion for competitive CS:GO. The last major before CS:GO is brought to an end is the Blast Major in Paris, which is currently finishing its group stages and will see one last Major winner before the new era of Counter Strike. Some predict Vitality to take the win, who have been looking on fire coming off their recent grand finals win in the IEM Rio Major, while others believe s1mple and NAVI have just as much of a shot at taking the trophy for themselves. Still more believe that FaZe Clan or Team Liquid have the potential to cause an upset, with both teams being in the middle of the pack despite having seen wins of their own in the past. Regardless of who takes home the trophy, their names will be forever etched into the history of CS:GO as the last Major winners.

So what’s in it for the current 1.8 million CS:GO players after the game’s servers are shut down for good? Fortunately, there’s a lot for players to look forward to with CS:2. While CS:GO’s Source game engine has proved reliable over its lifespan, its successor in Source 2 has shown to give the game a much needed upgrade in its “quality of life” (improvement of game graphics and performance), improving map lighting and reflections as well as changing the gameplay around smokescreens with their improved coverage, lighting change, and, most importantly, their ability to temporarily subside by shooting bullets or grenade explosions. Valve announced that CS:2 will be a free, direct upgrade for current CS:GO players, so if for those who currently have years of in-game possessions like weapon skins or specific knives, they will transfer over without issue.

While CS:GO is coming to an end, its legacy and massive community are not going anywhere. The gaming community can look eagerly towards the future of Counter Strike while fondly remembering its past. Without a doubt, CS:GO will go down as one of the greatest and most influential games of all time.

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