Due to the slow start Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has had since the game's launch just under a month ago, the title's future is now in the hands of players more than ever before in the franchise's history.
Players will tell you it's up to the tournament organizers such as Intel Extreme Masters or DreamHack to pick up Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for the game to become a success, but as time passes it's becoming more and more apparent that is not the case.
We have now had almost a month of Steam's player statistics to analyze, and the outlook is bleak. Counter-Strike's older versions, 1.6 and Source, have both been topping their younger brother in the number of players, and CS:GO doesn't look to be improving.
Now why is this significant? Because as long as Valve will not be chipping in prize money for other tournaments, their and Hidden Path Entertainment's collaboration's future is fully dependant on spectators on a possible future CS:GO TV, viewers on streams and website visits.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive key, we will be handing out keys to you guys at a later stage
The game's initial version, despite of Chet's promises, was clearly not ready for release
Those of you who watched fnatic TV's The Panel featuring Michal "Carmac" Blicharz heard him say he does not think CS:GO can become as big as Counter-Strike 1.6 was if it tries to be CS 1.6. How big was it then? The IEM VI World Championship final between Natus Vincere and ESC Gaming garnered some 70,000 simultaneous viewers, which IEM decided was not enough.
Granted, CS:GO does have more new players coming in and if it continues to grow worldwide and not only in Europe or North America there is a chance it can become a truly global game, which is something IEM and Blicharz have been vocal about, but it will also have to gain more viewers.
While we can blame a myriad of factors for why the viewers have been low so far, ranging from bad spectator experiences to the laggy stream of SteelSeries GO tournament's final and lack of CSGO TV, the fact is that currently CS:GO's player base isn't large enough.
You simply can not get 50,000 spectators out 25,000 active players (peak at one time); not unless it's a huge tournament with names like Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg and Filip "NEO" Kubski meeting in the grand finals for a large sum of cash, and even then it's questionable right now.
Certainly the aforementioned players can't multiply themselves and become new players or spectators, but what they can do is make themselves, as well as their game, more accessible to fans and simply do what they might consider more than their part to help CS:GO to grow.
Since the dawn of time there have been players who prefer not to do interviews, answer questions or comment on things. Lately a member of the hyped Ninjas in Pyjamas team declined an interview on HLTV.org because of the community's approach towards CS:S players.
Similarly players do not wish to stream practice so their opponents can't see their strategies, and lately for example Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund declined sharing his CS:GO POV demo for the same reason. Both of them are understandable, but pretty soon there won't be much left to hide.
This is my somewhat educated guess and hardly a fact or a future set in stone, but I believe DreamHack Winter will largely determine what becomes or doesn't become of CS:GO in the future. It seems that virtually every other tournament organizer is waiting to see how it pans out, and right now the interest isn't there.
How does one go about increasing that interest then? It starts with high profile players like Alesund, Kubski, Lindberg or the VeryGames members being open to the media in gaming. If you turn people down, it becomes increasingly difficult to make potential fans interested.
Streaming would surely help tons as well - it's hardly an exaggeration to suggest the very same former SK members streaming daily for hours prior to the final IEM World Championship for CS 1.6 really made people more excited about the then approaching tournament in late February.
It's almost a shame VeryGames and NiP are destined to face each other this weekend in Valencia, as a meeting between the two at ESWC would be something to look forward to, and if one side isn't quite ready to put up an epic match for people to see, a lot of the hype will disappear far too soon.
Regardless, there are still thousands of Counter-Strike fans who want to see their favorite players in action, whether it is Counter-Strike: Source kings VeryGames or all time 1.6 greats like Kubski or Lindberg, but they need to be interested in watching the game first - and that is up to the players as much as anyone else to do.
Thousands of the fans do not have computers fast enough to run CS:GO or simply are not interested in playing the game, but that doesn't mean the spectating side isn't interesting. I have no interest in playing the game myself, but I do want to find out what happens when NiP faces VeryGames - case in point.
Now, if any of the VeryGames players streamed or more of the NiP players did more often, I might actually be able to watch them play sometimes which could get me more into the game, but that simply isn't the case, is it?
I therefore call the players themselves to action - it's up to you guys to make the community interested, show that CS:GO is interesting to watch and play, or after a few more tournaments with low viewers there won't be more events to save your strats for.
This piece was clearly subjective while also featuring some opinions many would consider facts. What do you, the readers, think? Would more streaming or interviews help your thirst for Counter-Strike? Leave a comment below to let us and the players in question know!