While many games have fought for the title over the years, it is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive that holds the current title for the king of the first-person shooters, despite the fact that the game is seven years old and is operating using systems many newer developers would consider obsolete.
So how did CSGO claim this title, and what gives it this enduring legacy to this day?
The original Counter-Strike was released all the way back in 1999, long before many of its current players had walked their first steps. Beginning not as a full game, it was actually established as a Half-Life mod by a team of two who went on to sell the property to Valve.
Counter-Strike gained steam because, at the time, it was completely unique. Rather than a free-for-all of arcade chaos, Counter-Strike focused on a more realistic team-based approach. Two teams, lifelike weapons, low TTK (time to kill), and round-based engagements all ramped up the tension of each game to a level never before experienced.
Seeing your whole team go down early in a match, only to pull out a 1v5 victory by the skin of your teeth, had never felt so good, and this is a feeling CSGO carries to this day.
Contributing to the game’s popularity was the ease of online play as allowed by Valve’s then-new platform, Steam. Unlike many online gaming systems of the time, Steam allowed players to browse and connect directly within the game. Initially, this additional layer actually frustrated many, but over time, the advantages proved too significant to ignore.
It is these two components – the base gameplay and ease of online connectivity – which have proven to be the backbone of the Counter-Strike series to this day. The initial sequels in the series, Condition Zero and Source, worked off of these foundations, further streamlining and enhancing elements that made the original popular.
2012’s Global Offensive, however, brought this to an entirely new level. With technology well suited to modern gaming and a built-in audience of millions, GO was poised for success right out of the gate.
Also adding to this success were the contributions afforded by its surrounding infrastructure. Its suitability in eSports gave rise to huge tournaments, establishing it as a real force in the new generation of digital gaming. This was supported by dedicated eSports journalism websites offering CSGO news, which have found enormous popularity guiding and informing the audience to games and player developments.
The original Counter-Strike was a case of the right game at the right time, which created a legacy the development team understands and builds on to this day. Now standing as one of the biggest games in both eSports (offering $77.4 million in tournament winnings so far) and regular play in the world, CSGO shows no signs of slowing down.
With constant patches, an active competitive scene, and a supportive community, CSGO is one of the rare games which has become a fundamental part of gaming culture. Alongside Doom, Pac-Man, and DOTA, Counter Strike is a legacy which we never expect to leave behind.