The first person shooter genre is full of popular and engaging games. Game franchises such as Call of Duty or Halo have gone from being mere video games to pop culture icons, spawning their own lingo, merchandise, and memes. All while bringing tens of millions of dollars for their publishers. And as the big name games consistently steal the spotlight their remain a bevy of other compelling shooters out there that are perhaps equally deserving of notoriety.
Enter Counter Strike: Global Offensive
CS:GO can boast of accomplishments that few FPS games, or games of any genre, have attained. Released in 2012, CS:GO is still incredibly popular and features a rabid fan base of loyal players. Published by Valve Corporation, it is the fourth installment in the Counter Strike series that began 14 years ago.
CS:GO has stayed true to the gameplay it pioneered at its inception. In stark contrast to most multiplayer shooting games, it doesn’t take many bullets to kill or be killed. The hardcore element gives a simplicity to the game that makes it easy to jump into yet difficult to master. Game modes are fairly straight forward as well: you’re either a terrorist or a counter terrorist. Battles range across a variety of maps with objectives being anything from a standard deathmatch to a race to defuse or detonate an explosive device.
What keeps CS:GO relevant today despite being 5 years old is the community that has built up around it. The quick, exciting gameplay has a tendency to suck players in and keep you playing for long periods of time. It isn’t uncommon to encounter people who have dedicated over one thousand hours or more to the game.
This immense loyalty and popularity has led to CS:GO becoming a popular game in professional competitions. Many third party tournaments are held each year but Valve itself sponsors a ‘Majors’ event annually as well. Introduced in 2013, the first Major had a prize pool of $250,000. That amount has since been increased to an impressive $1 million in 2016. The competitions are as popular as most major sporting events, with live attendance in the tens of thousands while millions watch online via live stream.
CS:GO’s popularity shows no signs of diminishing. Dedicated updates and support by the developers continue to keep the game well balanced and fresh. A fifth installment of the series will no doubt be coming in the near future but for now, players will continue to earn bragging rights from their friends as they blast digital foes into eternity.