Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a first-person shooter video game by Valve. Released in 2012, it remains today one of the most popular online games on the planet, with active users numbering in the millions. CS:GO can be enjoyed at a casual level just as easily as it can be leveraged as a real competitive environment for the e-sports scene. Its predecessors, most notably Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source, were popular in their own right, but CS:GO has dwarfed them in popularity. There are several game modes in CS:GO. The most casual are Deathmatch and Arms Race, which pit players against one another in free-for-all fights, where the stakes are low and the environment is relaxed. Then, there is Casual mode, which allows players to experience a similar feel to the real competitive matches, without having to worry about rankings.
The most popular game mode is Competitive, and this is where CS:GO gets hardcore. Upon joining a competitive queue, players are matched against each other in two teams of five based on their current Skill Ranking. Then, they join a match which, after a brief warmup period, can last up to 90 minutes. The most common game type in Competitive involves bomb defusal: the Terrorist team must plant a bomb at one of the two sites on the map, and the Counter-Terrorist team must prevent them from planting the bomb at all costs. If the bomb is planted, it’s up to the CT team to defuse it before it’s too late. If they take too long, the bomb explodes and they lose the round. Halfway through the match, the two teams switch sides, giving everyone a chance to play for both teams. The match winners are the team reaching 16 rounds first.
CS:GO has recently been involved in some high-profile controversy in the online gaming scene. In-game cosmetic items such as cs go skins can be purchased for real money, and they are often the prizes in huge gambling schemes, where individual players buy into a pot hoping to come out with a rare skin, or even a knife. Knives can cost up to $400, while some of the rarest skins, like AWP Dragon Lore, can cost around $2,000! Unfortunately, some of the streamers and YouTubers participating in these gambling tournaments have been discovered manipulating the outcomes of the prize drawings behind the scenes, for personal profit and to generate interest on their social pages. Despite the controversy, CS:GO remains as popular as ever, and its player numbers are strong in spite of newer games coming out every day.