2019 is coming to an end for CSGO and so ends the pro circuit. It’s been a year when the CSGO average player base reached it’s an all-time high of 417 thousand player average during a period 30 days. It’s also the year we’ve seen an enormous usage of the krieg and aug in competitive and casual play. But of all the things that happened this year one thing startles me the most. That’s the abundance of CSGO Events.
The Road So Far For CSGO Events
Since the beginning of CSGO‘s lifespan, there has been a steady increase of events. In 2013 there were 11 S-tier events (I’ll use the naming scheme from Liquipedia, as they do a somewhat fair job at distinguishing high-level tournaments) with the top teams in attendance, 17 for 2014 and ever since then about 17-20 such event per year. When you look at it that way, the increase of events doesn’t look that bad. You could get about an event per month and somewhere you might have to stick a couple more.
The problem is player breaks, and of course, holidays exist, thus the schedule needs to get more cramped. In 2018 (excluding BPS), there were 7 months that had 2 or more S-tier events of which 2 months included even 3 events. In 2019 (again excluding BPS) there were 8 months with 2 or more S-tier events, but unlike the previous year, there were 2 months that again had 3 events and this December is due to have 4 S-tier tournaments.
That‘s talking about the highest echelon, but what about the other level? What if you want to watch the games that are below A tier because an event also includes the odd team from the top 10? Well, 2019 is bound to have 39 such events in total. February and October are the only 2 months that included just 1 A-tier tournament. Leaving the rest of the months packed even for teams outside the top 10.
The Stars Aren’t Happy
With so many tournaments ongoing in different parts of the world like Europe, China and NA, there has been a strain on the players. Whether it‘s for the right reasons or not, when the Astralis team started skipping events, there should never be an instance for pro players, where depending on how quickly you finish the grand-final, it will determine if you can make it to the next event. Case and point, EG after winning ESL NY had to leave for Dreamhack Masters Malmo straight away. 2 months later we had ECS S8 kafuffle because Team Liquid’s flight was booked from Texas, they would be late for the first game in ESL Pro League. Thankfully ESL rescheduled the match and Liquid made it to their opening game and even won it.
With so much travel and abundance of events, no wonder teams are opting to pull out of various tournaments. Just this month Fnatic announced their withdrawal from EPICENTER 2019, and 100 Thieves have opted not to go to Dreamhack Winter.
This can also be seen in the most recent story of Qi League Banja Luka, a 150,000$ CSGO Event that was supposed to take place in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Due to 3 more tournaments happening on the same dates (cs_summit 5, BPS Global Finals and Dreamhack Open Seville), the organizer couldn‘t get teams to participate and now had to cut the prize pool by 115.000$ and have only 4 teams in attendance.
Troubles Don’t Stop There For CSGO Events
Last but not least it’s the tournament organizers who could suffer the most in the nearby future. For instance, the tournament organizer Dreamhack runs the open circuit of 100,000$ events across the globe. Two years ago they could still have some top squads participating like in 2017’s Dreamhack Open Summer. More than 270 thousand peak viewership and 2.5 million hours watched.
The following year’s Summer included way lesser teams and the figures showed with about 38k peak viewership and 585 976 hours watched.
Dreamhack Summer did improve on those metrics for 2019, but because the playing field didn‘t improve too much from 2018, there was about 49k peak viewership and 716k hours watched. And in Dreamhack‘s case, they didn‘t even have to compete with any S-tier event for viewership, which is a usual problem from them.
Average viewership has also taken a dip, StarSeries I-League Season 7 at the start of the year had 77k average viewers, whereas StarSeries I-League Season 8, an event with a new, unseen format for CSGO had 73k. And it’s not like the teams were that much worse, the average rating of a team in Season 7 was 25.1, whereas in Season 8 it was 20,5.
Without a doubt, it’s really hard to get around watching all the CSGO events. I’d say that’s somewhat of an impossible task nowadays. Even if you have an interest just for the cream of the crop of Counter-Strike, the spectacle of great teams meeting on the big stage losses some of its value, when you know there‘s another event around the corner, and another one. On the other hand, this is great for some, especially for those who look to make some extra cash from CSGO Gambling.
It‘d be unwise to claim this is the death of CSGO, but signs are worrisome.