Yesterday and after days of teasing, the CS:GO devs presented a new Battle Royale mode for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and the transition of the game into a free to play.
On paper, why not? Battle Royale is a popular style these days with Fortnite probably being the most played game today, with PUBG showing a good competitive level and even Call of Duty turning to that new mode. Also, F2P means more players, more viewers, more people around the game in general.
But this still sounds to me like the easy route. CS is one of the kings of esports for decades now, and most of that happened with a really minimal investment from Valve. It kinda happened by itself because of the quality of the game, because it’s super enjoyable to play, easy to watch and that many good people did great things by creating a complete professional circuit. Yes, Valve helped a lot with the Majors but everything that happens every weekend at T1, T2, T3 and online level would happen with or without Valve anyway.That’s also what makes CS a totally different thing, while LoL, Dota or Overwatch are controlled by the editors of the games.
Turning to Battle Royale is the easy way, it’s popular and many will try that mode because it’s the trend. But let’s not fool ourselves, even if this mode is still in early stage, it’s not like the other BR games. Battle Royale fans might try it but it’s far from what they are used to, it’s a totally different thing where they can’t revive teammates, ammo and weapons are used in a weird way so far and games are 10 minutes max. It’s not a new BR game, it’s just a CS mode and most people trying that mode for the BR side might be disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad but it’s far from anything special.
Going F2P is also easy, because it’s kinda the last easy step. When you look in detail about the way they went F2P, it sounds like a trick, not a real improvement. Basically every player that brought the game before the update is now Prime. Which means that the previous Prime players have nothing different now with players that simply brought the game days ago. There were no accommodations for the older players. The whole matchmaking experience will be impacted by this decision, not necessarily in a good way. At the same time, new F2P players can play non-prime matchmaking, a mode that can realistically turn into a cheating land if the anti-cheating system is not improved.
Overall, this shows a lack of ideas from the devs. Turning to BR is following a trend, turning to F2P is a way to attract new players because it’s free, not because CS:GO is improving. There is no new operation since more than a year now, most demands from professional players are not taken into account, the game mechanics are barely evolving and bugs still appear regularly. Next months will be interesting to see if Valve has a real plan over time or if they improvise along the way. So far, it doesn’t seem that Valve has had a real plan and direction over the years, let’s hope we’re facing a new era.