It’s hard to believe that it has now been 21 years since the arrival of Counter-Strike (CS). Unless you have spent the last 2 decades sheltering in a cave in the wilderness, then you’re bound to have at least heard of, if not played, it. For those that perhaps need a slight refresher, CS in one of the most famous multiplayer first-person shooter games ever. Choosing between roles of terrorist or counter-terrorist, teams of 5 play against each other with bombs, assassinations, and hostage-taking all part of the action.
Each game is made up of several rounds, and the terrorists’ main aim is to successfully destroy a given location by detonating a bomb. The counter-terrorists are there to defuse the bombs as they are planted and become the heroes of the hour. If you manage to completely obliterate the other side, regardless of any bombs, victory is then yours.
From mod to household name
In the same way as League of Legends was a spin-off of DotA Allstars, CS started life as a mod from Half-Life. It was back in 1999, originally available on Windows, that CS emerged and began to take the gaming world by storm. Although no one knew it at the time, CS would soon go on to become synonymous with competitive gaming.
With 3 other carnations of CS, its popularity exploded and has only continued to grow. Of course, there had been multiplayer games before this one, but no one had ever known anything quite like it. The more people that played the games, the bigger the community grew, and soon CS was known and played around the globe.
CS was developed so it was easy to play but took commitment to master. This made the game appeal to novices and hard-core gamers alike. The ability to play with a worldwide community of strangers, or your best friend from around the corner, meant that CS was easily accessible, and it only took a minute or 2 in front of your screen before you could join a game.
The Growth of a true community
With the releases of CS: Condition Zero, CS: Source, and the 2012 arrival of CS: Global Offensive, the CS community has continued to grow in number and loyalty. CS owes much of its longevity to this community as it is they that grow and develop the game themselves by creating and spreading game maps.
The continued ability to play with gamers around the world led to what was inevitable: the rise of CS competitions. The first major competition was the Cyberathlete Professional League Winter Championship 2001. This was won by a team, who have gone down in history, known as Ninjas in Pyjamas.
The increased popularity of esports has seen more and more competitions emerge, and the size of prize pots available for wining any CS competition has grown and grown. It is now possible to earn (more than) a full-time living from CS.
Counter-Strike betting on a bright future
With CS: Global Offensive being loved by the loyal base of fans, and newcomers alike, the appetite for CS shows no signs of diminishing. What the creators always knew was that the success of CS was going to be in the hands of the community, and so it was developed in such a way as to allow this community to stay involved, and even control, CS.
In many ways, CS can be seen as the perfect game: a game that has stood the test of time and constantly evolved to stay relevant. There is no sign of its popularity dwindling, as more and more people are drawn to eSports, the competitions and the thrill of Counter Strike betting just keep growing and growing. In fact, competitions involving CS attracts some of the biggest crowds in the world on eSports and the prize funds are in the top 5 of the gaming world.