It is fair to say that Counter-Strike : Global Offensive is one of the biggest Esports titles in the world, if not the biggest – the total prize pool for all of 2020, a unique year in terms of complexity, was $14.75 million. That’s almost twice as much as DOTA 2, which comes in second at 8.87 million, and about twelve million more than the total price tag for Rocket League this year. The numbers don’t lie – they easily beat the massive games we seem to see piled up everywhere in modern culture, like Fortnite and League of Legends.


As we all know, Counter-Strike was released in 1999 as a mod for Valve’s very first Half Life game. Valve acquired the intellectual rights to the game and turned it into a full retail product. Two more games will follow, one of which will be an update of the first using Valve’s beloved Source engine, before Global Offensive comes out in 2012. That was almost nine years ago, and yet the game still tops lists of team sports around the world. It is clear that it has continually evolved over that period and, like Theseus’ ship, the Experiment, is nowhere near what it was in its early days.

The first major event was held in Sweden, organized by the event company DreamHack in 2013. The prize pool was a quarter of a million dollars, a huge amount for e-sports at the time. The current big tournaments have huge prize pools of two million dollars, which clearly shows how big the Counter-Strike scene has become in the last decade.


The Counter-Strike franchise has gone hand-in-hand with e-sports since the beginning. The simple gameplay and community-driven development have created a large and targeted audience. The prize pool of the first major was partially funded by the sale of in-game skins – Global Offensive will become free-to-play later in 2018, with development supported entirely by the sale of in-game items and, of course, profits generated by Esports programs.

It’s a game that has a symbiotic relationship with the extreme sports industry. In fact, they grew up together, and while e-sports grew from a niche interest to a global phenomenon, Counter-Strike filled stadiums, fanned the competition, and made players around the world into celebrities. The Astralis Danes are the defending champions, and their recent victory marked a new record for wins in the history of the global offense. The gambling industry has been very successful thanks to the rise of sports and the best gambling sites now cover esports alongside traditional games such as football, hockey and baseball.

Perhaps it is this long and distinguished history that makes the game so popular today. Sure, DOTA 2, League of Legends, Fortnite, and Rocket League have all had varying degrees of popularity and success in the industry, but none of them have been around as long as Global Offensive. When you play CS:GO, at any level, you join a huge community that has been around for decades, and few games have such incredible prestige.


2020 was a tough year for everyone, and the Counter-Strike scene was hit hard by the pandemic. Major tournaments were postponed and eventually cancelled, leaving the league without its biggest tournament for the first time in years. However, reports from analysis firm NewZoo predict that esports as a whole will continue to grow, with viewership and profits increasing. The collective audience will be larger than ever and profits will exceed $1 billion, with 14 percent growth expected by 2020.
The fact that esports – and of course Counter-Strike – has managed to achieve such growth, even in these extremely difficult times, is a testament to the potential of the sector. It is no longer a niche for the most passionate fans, but a sport as accessible as football or boxing, with a rich community of famous players, young aspiring players and, of course, dedicated spectators who make it all possible. Will the counterattack always stay ahead? It’s hard to say. But with tournaments hosted by multiple promoters and, of course, the return of the Major to Sweden this fall, fans can expect a fantastic year.

frequently asked questions

The reason CS:GO is so popular is that it fulfills many of the needs of gamers that other games did not. The competitive game mode, skill requirements and overall game design. … It allows you to play in a much more strategic and individual way. Once you play this mode, Deathmatch will seem so boring.

Although CS:GO was released about seven years ago, in August 2012, the game is still very popular online and has a cult status. In February 2020, Counter-Strike had 24 million monthly active users, more than double the number in May 2016.

Why are the Cs doing well?

It is a very fun game, if you like competitive play and getting better, it is very worthwhile. … A big part of CSGO is a very strong competitive community, which in itself is enough to set it apart from other FPSs. The learning curve of the game is relatively high.

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