Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CS:GO, is one of the most viewed and played Intel Extreme Masters esport tournaments. In 2020, it got over 1 million views. CS:GO is a free first-person shooter (FPS) game that was released in 2012.
The original Counter-Strike game was a mod of Valve's popular game Half-life. Today, there are four games in the CS series.
Developed by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment, the game involves two teams, Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists, fighting against each other in different game modes. The game is still hugely popular in the gaming community and it receives regular updates by Valve.
In 2018, Valve introduced a battle royale mode called "Danger Zone." There are 9 other game modes, with the most popular one being "Bomb Defusal." The game has received several awards in the esports industry, including the Game Awards for 2017, 2019, and 2020.
The game is the fourth game in the CS series and it's available on WIndows, macOS, Xbox 360, and PS3. Since its release, Valve has introduced loads of new features, including new maps, weapons, game modes, and skins. Skins helped form a "virtual economy" in the game which ultimately resulted in esports betting and gambling.
CS:GO Esports Betting and Tournaments
CS:GO tournaments that have the largest prize pools are called Major Championships. They started with a prize pool of $250,000 USD and have gone up to $1,000,000 USD. Intel Extreme Masters has held one of the Counter Strike Majors from 2008 to 2012 but it was for CS 1.6.
Before the release of CS:GO, the series' future in the esports industry was uncertain due to many players around the world not wanting to play CS 1.6 in a competitive environment. When CS:GO launched in 2012, it revived the esports spirit in the CS community.
While the initial version of the game still had its shortcomings, Valve continuously put out patches to improve it. The first CS:GO Major Championship was funded by Valve and took place in Sweden at DreamHack Winter 2013.
The game has had it fair share of controversy, though. Many players have been found to be cheating but they're banned by "Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC)" as soon as they're discovered. Players who are found to be cheating at tournaments are permanently banned and sometimes removed from their teams.
When weapon skins were introduced, online esport betting sites were created for the purpose of wagering skins. This soon devolved into underage gambling because of which Valve and gambling sites received two lawsuits.