Counter-Strike: Global Offensive turned 10 years old last August. The shooting discipline by Valve continues developing, and its esports scene is in the best shape, demonstrating impressive numbers for fans and market leaders. In this material, we will consider the reasons for the popularity of a pretty old game.

Actual statistics

Throughout its existence, $116,152,082 of prize money was up for grabs for esports teams in CS:GO, which was the 2nd result in esports. In total, the CS:GO tournaments schedule includes 6,846 events, 498 of which were hosted in 2022.

The biggest prize pool was up for grabs at PGL Major Stockholm 2021, where the teams were competing for $2,000,000. By the way, the most popular match in terms of viewership stats is the final of this tournament between NAVI and G2, which was watched by 2,748,434 viewers. At the same time, new viewing records are expected at the Paris Major 2023 tournament.

Success in simplicity

The key to the success and popularity of CS:GO is the simplicity of the gameplay. 2 teams of 5 players compete on different maps, and the victory is achieved under pretty simple conditions. It would seem that there is nothing difficult about shooting from various weapons, planting and defusing the bomb — but the working principle is “easy to learn, hard to master.”

The game is accessible both in terms of gameplay and watching matches. In any MOBA discipline, an unprepared viewer will be trying hard to understand the events occurring on his screen, but a viewer will understand the basic aspects of the game after a few rounds in CS:GO.

The iconic status of the series

The Counter-Strike game series originally was a Half-Life modification but the project transformed into a standalone game later. The beta version of Counter-Strike was released back in 1999, and the most famous Counter-Strike 1.6 was launched in 2003. There were various single-player and multiplayer games in the series, but the iconic ones are Counter-Strike 1.6, Counter-Strike: Source, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The game was initially distributed on a paid basis. However, the project switched to a free-to-play model in 2018.

Valve’s approach to esports in CS:GO

However, it is not enough just to release a good game to make it a popular and successful esports discipline in the long term. Also, the approach used in the creation and formation of the esports scene in a discipline is important.

Valve has always been famous for its special approach to the development of esports in its shooting discipline. The developers let its creation float away, following it from the side and organizing two tournaments in the Major series a year with the help of third-party tournament operators. In the current state, the esports segment is developed by the efforts of such companies as BLAST, ESL, WePlay, and many others.


CS:GO owes its popularity to its simplicity, accessibility, Valve’s right approach, which is based on the financial interest of third-party companies with minimal interference of the developers, and also the long history of the franchise. Now, there is no reason to assume that CS:GO will go to oblivion anytime soon. Instead, the game continues gaining momentum, attracting new sponsors, releasing new content, and providing an entertaining experience to players and viewers.