Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the latest version of Counter-Strike. This series has been around for more than 20 years and apart from the improvements that you’d expect to see, the formula has remained the same throughout this entire time.
The new FPS games look very different and are either Battle Royales or Hero Shooters. This means that their characters have attributes of their own, including unique weapons, abilities, and stats. But CS:GO still uses the same old formula and makes the focal point of the game the weapons and the maps.
Each year, there are dozens of big CS:GO events and many of them offer $1 million in prize money. Millions watch them and lots of people also enjoy betting on these CS:GO competitions. The reason why so many people watch the game’s professional tournaments has to do with its simplicity. That was the key to its success.
How CS:GO Works
CS:GO is played in a team versus team format with 5 players of each side. Across esports, this format proved to be successful and very few games decided to move away from it. Even Overwatch 2, despite the 6-man tradition developed by Overwatch 1, became a 5-man per team esport.
In games like PUBG, there are 4 players per team instead of 5. But that’s because the playstyle is of a slightly different nature.
Every character in CS:GO is the same. There is no speed variation, no loadout variation, and no unique abilities. An agent has 100 HP, a pistol, and a knife. And that’s it. On top of that, you can buy armor, guns, grenades, and other equipment. But these things will not be given to you based on what character you chose.
CS:GO also lacks game modes, at least at the competitive level. If you want to play ranked, there’s only one mode. You can play short matches instead of standard ones, but the format is exactly the same.
In each round, the Terrorists need to eliminate the enemy team or plant the bomb and prevent the Counter-Terrorists from defusing it. Meanwhile, the CT side needs to guard the two bomb locations, A and B, and either eliminate the T side before it plants the bomb or defuse the bomb after it’s been planted before it explodes.
The mechanism is very simple and very elegant. But that’s what makes it easy to follow.
Why CS:GO Is Fun to Watch
In some esports, such as Overwatch 2, there’s simply too much to follow simultaneously. The audience is overwhelmed by everything that happens and quickly becomes numb because of all the explosions.
In CS:GO, every duel is highly tactical and takes place slowly enough to allow you to enjoy it. The pace of the game can be quick, but things don’t happen so quickly that you end up missing 80% of it.
It’s never fun to see only who won a battle and not understand anything from it. An audience likes to live the moment and imagine being in the player’s chair.
The slow maneuvering before a duel breaks out is always exciting and the epic moments are truly epic. They don’t happen that often but they’re frequent enough to keep people anticipating them.
No other game does this as well as CS:GO. Valve’s engineers seem to have a deep understanding of how the human mind processes information and they created their games in a way that optimizes the amount of time that the audience gets to enjoy each moment.
Maps and Guns
There are 7 maps being used at all times in professional tournaments. These maps are part of what is called the Active Duty Map Pool.
Each map is very well designed and creates a different kind of battle. The rules are the same each time, but the duels and tactics used by the teams differ. This helps to generate a lot of variety for the players and audiences alike.
In CS:GO, rounds are short and usually end in less than 2 minutes. This means that even if you died, you’ll be back really soon and you won’t have to wait very long on the side. In some games, like PUBG or Fortnite, if you die you lose all your progress and need to start all over. That’s not the case in CS:GO.
The game also puts a lot of importance on the guns themselves. When a famous player such as s1mple or ZywOo buys the AWP, the audience is already gasping and chanting. That’s the beauty of a great game. It makes it possible for the top players to entertain the audience and show them what they can do thanks to their prowess.
The main reason why CS:GO is the best old-school first-person shooter is that it was created with an audience in mind. And the game is perfect for entertaining that audience. The perfect example of that was the IEM Rio Major 2022. The Brazilian fans went absolutely insane each time one of their teams won a round.