11 Years On: How CS:GO Keeps Growing


Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is, pretty much, the most popular first-person shooter in the eSports community. It’s pulling in increasing numbers of players every month, despite having been released way back in 2012. CS:GO

A lot of games have launched since then, yet none of them – bar the gargantuan followings of Fortnite and Warzone – have lured CSGO’s players away for any significant period. CSGO’s professional competitions are becoming unprecedentedly popular, too. The prize money numbers in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it’s estimated that over a million people tuned in to the most recent IEM tournament in Katowice, this year.

After over a decade, CS:GO has undoubtedly earned a user base that doesn’t look to be going anywhere soon. In fact, CS:GO pulled the most unique players in 2022, according to recent reporting. But what specifically allowed the game to achieve this feat? There are plenty of great FPS titles out there, yet none have arguably come close to toppling CS:GO – is it something they’re doing wrong, or something CSGO has got overwhelmingly right?

Free for all

CSGO has always been a mixed bag of game modes and ranked matches, some of which were paid, and some that weren’t. The introduction of a ‘free2play’ mode was actually received with some trepidation from the game’s earliest players, who felt it might weaken the competitiveness of the match-ups. In the end, making the game freely available, in combination with other features, has only boosted the universal appeal of CSGO.

Streamer’s Paradise

The booming eSports scene and several well-known streamers who spend time on the CSGO servers are no doubt a big pull for players. The last tournament, IEM Katowice, was won by the renowned Faze Clan, and according to CSGO news on win.gg, even days before the final between Faze Clan and G2 eSports, it seemed almost too close to call, only adding to the drama that resulted in a Faze victory after six (?!) overtimes. CSGO lends itself very well to professional competition, and this will always appeal to its audience.

Trading Places

A little customisation is always appreciated in gaming, and CSGO is no different. The ability to earn, trade, and sell skins have been a very popular feature of the game. Players like to work towards certain things in a game, and the trading functionality keeps things fresh, never leaving a player with nothing to do.

Configuring Success

CSGO relies heavily on an individual’s actual physical attributes. Reaction time, accuracy, and collaboration win the day. Not to mention, it’s a very configurable game, with hundreds of different styles and set-ups to use. Trying to find the right equipment, sensitivity – even crosshairs – has become part of the fun of trying to succeed on CSGO.

Ground Rules

Every game has its trolls, and CSGO suffers no fools. Fortnite struggled with players who mastered building to the point of turning new players away. There was no point even trying. CSGO has added some helpful ground rules to deal with cases of violence, friendly fire, or unsporting behavior. Giving teams the ability to deal with trolls in their own way has made CSGO a highly respected game. It’s a community of players who overwhelmingly just want to enjoy the game with you.

There are likely several other reasons contributing to CSGO’s success over the years. Very few games go this long without becoming irrelevant. In all likelihood, its growing membership will stay strong as long as the developers keep listening to their users, and maintain the principles upon which the game was built: fun, competition, and fairness.

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