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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) was released in 2012, building on the original Counter-Strike mod for Half-Life released in 1999. Counter-Strike’s success has defined multiplayer first-person shooter games. In CS:GO two teams compete in an objective-based game mode, across multiple rounds, in the hope of winning enough rounds to take victory in the match.CS:GO has a number of game modes including Competitive, Wingman, Casual, Deathmatch, Arms Race, Demolition and Flying Scoutsman.
Competitive is the classic mode and sees two teams of five play it out in a best-of-30 rounds format. Teams can be either Terrorists, or Counter-Terrorists. Armour, weapons, defuse and rescue kits are bought, and players have to manage their spending to get the best combination of gear. In Competitive the first team to win 16 rounds of either Bomb Defusal or Hostage Rescue mode takes victory.Out of the other game modes, Wingman is a 2v2 best-of-16 format, Deathmatch allows instant respawns and fast battle play, and Flying Scoutsman is a Casual 8v8 format with reduced gravity. Since release, CS:GO has achieved around 11 million players per month and official tournaments began in 2013.
There are many tournaments, either organised by Valve or by third-party organizations. CS:GO “Majors,” have substantial prize pools, usually at $250,000 and above, the first $1 million prize pool was set by MLG Columbus in 2016. In fact, CS:GO esports teams now have their own union and members won’t attend tournaments with prize pools less than $75,000. In 2020, two major esports organizations, Cloud9 and Dignitas have announced plans for a franchise-based league for CS:GO with the league owned by the teams themselves. As per Esports Earnings, CS:GO is ranked second in its list of esports games which have paid out the most in prize money. Over 12,000 professional players have taken home winnings from a total prize payout for CS:GO of over $92 million across 4787 tournaments.
Concurrent players on Steam
In March 2020 amidst the coronavirus crisis and as people stay home and stay safe, CS:GO achieved 1.15 million concurrent players on Steam, as per Statista. It is the highest peak since the release of Counter-Strike’s latest iteration, CS:GO, in 2012.
CS:GO has been hugely popular, in January 2019 it had over 20 million monthly active users. This is twice the number of players of May 2016.
CS:GO’s ELEAGUE Major 2018 hit a peak audience viewership of 1.9 million viewers.
The total tournament prize pool for 2018 for CS:GO was $22.65 million, up from 2017 and 2016. CS:GO tournaments, across all time, have awarded more prize money cumulatively than any other esports title except for Dota 2.
Earnings to date
As per Esports Earnings, over $93 million in prize money has been won in professional CS:GO esports tournaments to date.
As per Sully Gnome, in the 30 days preceding April 13, 2020, 87 million hours of CS:GO streaming were watched on Twitch. 2560 Twitch channels stream the popular esports game.