What Will Happen to the Counter-Strike eSports Scene After CS2 Is Released?

There are conflicting opinions about Valve’s first first-person shooter (FPS) game. Is Counter-Strike 2 truly prepared for eSports?

Photo: Screenshot youtube.com/@kel_ski

When Counter-Strike 2 was released at the end of this September instead of CS: GO, it wasn’t as well received as most people had hoped. After more than a month, there’s still a great deal of doubt regarding whether the game was ready for release at all.

With the unveiling of the trailers last spring, Valve set a deadline for themselves, so perhaps they felt compelled to keep their word. Despite this, the game was initially released with minimal features and is continuously being polished through updates. Still, there are questions about whether or not the game is currently prepared for competitive gaming, i.e. eSports.

Early Release to Counter-Strike 2 by Valve

In 2020, the development of Counter-Strike 2 began. The main justification for the update was the port from Source to Source 2, which is now Valve’s preferred game engine. Once the game is switched to a new engine, developers can easily update it, which is how the sequel to Global Offensive got its start.

In an exclusive interview with PC Gamer at late October, the creators of Counter-Strike 2 discussed the game’s future and release status. Their comments during the interview provide a clear understanding of the rationale behind the release:

“For sure, there are some features that would have been included in CS2 at launch if we had a longer beta. But over time, it’s not clear what the priorities should be when you have an ever-shrinking and self-selecting subset of the community participating. And without everyone playing the same game, we couldn’t make much progress on the most critical systems like networking, performance, and core gameplay,“ CS Dev Team stated.

This suggests that not all of Global Offensive’s features are ready for the game to launch. Nevertheless, a lot of user feedback was required for the game to be polished and free of bugs. This may be one of the causes of the release’s simplistic feeling.

Counter-Strike 2: Ready or Not for eSports?

Premier, competitive, and casual game modes were the three main game modes that were released for the game. The game tended to favor competitive players over casual ones for the most part. Weekly improvements are made to the game, which is always getting better. Players have nevertheless complained about hit registration and animation problems that detract from the overall gaming experience.

Though they acknowledged in the interview that these aren’t the only cases, the CS2 Developers are aware of them. The CS Dev Team told PC Gamer that although they displayed a different bug (a mismatch between the animation and hitbox when looking down), the crucial thing was that those clips enabled them to identify the exact bug and swiftly release a fix to users. Such bugs were regrettable, but thorough community feedback is really beneficial.

We only need to glance at the most recent massive LAN event to understand eSports. FaZe Clan’s victory at IEM Sydney 2023 gave us a firsthand understanding of what eSports in this iteration of the game will look like. Although it’s challenging to assess what occurs on the server from the perspective of the viewer, some players have shared their thoughts about the game. In the Australian tournament in question, Robin “ropz“ Kool, the Estonian lurker for the winning team, commented on Reddit that “there is barely a difference LAN vs Online“.

The Release of CS2 Is Motivating Both Established and Emerging Teams to Enter the Competitive Arena

For every player, the competitive scene in CS2 is unfamiliar territory. The game has undergone some significant adjustments that have reset the rules. Many aspects of the game need to be relearned by most players who have played it since CS: GO or earlier. Even pro players have to start from scratch to understand some of the mechanics, despite the fact that nothing is entirely new. As the game goes on, more changes will be made, and the new game introduces a new meta. A lot of fresh faces are attempting to enter the eSports portion of CS2 due to the meta change.

In the meantime, CS2 is expected to draw back some of the original pros in addition to bringing in new ones. It looks like one of the biggest eSports teams, which had players like eight-time CS: GO champion from the US, Tarik “tarik“ Celik, may be making a comeback to the competitive scene…

NRG Is Going Back to CS2 eSports

After a four-year break, American eSports group NRG is thinking about getting back into the Counter-Strike scene. NRG have a basic team concept in mind, but they haven’t finalized their plans yet. First, NRG expressed interest in creating a Counter-Strike squad, according to unaffiliated sources. Upon being contacted for comment, NRG acknowledged that they were investigating a return to CS. They did, however, stress that no terms have been decided upon or contracts signed.

There are currently NRG teams competing in other games. Its current projects are League of Legends and VALORANT, with teams from the former San Francisco Shock in Overwatch and Rocket League. Players like Tarik, Brehze, Ethan, Stanislaw, CeRq, and Chet were part of NRG’s Counter-Strike roster when it was last active in 2019. This roster was ranked third overall in the world.

There are currently NRG teams competing in other games. Their current projects are League of Legends and VALORANT, with teams from the former San Francisco Shock in Overwatch and Rocket League. Players like Brehze, tarik, stanislaw, Ethan, Chet, and CeRq were part of NRG’s Counter-Strike roster when it was last active in 2019. This roster was ranked third overall in the world.

After reportedly receiving $3 million from Evil Geniuses for their team, NRG exited the Counter-Strike scene. The team won StarSeries i-League Season 8 and ESL One New York 2019, and it peaked at No. 1 with Evil Geniuses. In a Reddit AMA, NRG co-owner Andy Miller expressed the company’s desire to return to the competitive scene at some point, and it appears that CS2 will be the venue for that return. He called the sale of their Counter-Strike team “gut-wrenching“.

Other Significant Shifts in CS2 Teams

Vladimir “s1mple“ Kostyljev is a well-known and accomplished CS: GO player from Ukraine who’s recognized for his extraordinary abilities. If he’s taking a rest from competitive play, that could have big consequences. He intends to change roles while taking a break from the arena of competition. When he does return, there will probably be a lot of media coverage.

However, Casper “cadiaN“ Møller, a well-known CS: GO player from Denmark, held the Heroic in-game leadership position. His exit from the squad may have an effect on the Scandinavian organization’s tactics and output. It might also present chances for the player himself to join a new team or for other players on the team to assume leadership roles.

While some teams are starting from scratch, others are seeing lineup changes. The eSports scene has been completely redefined by the new meta. Even though this is just the start, spectators can expect some incredible updates and improved competitions.

The Format Change for Counter-Strike 2 Will Significantly Affect eSports Betting

In addition to gameplay and visual changes from CS: GO, Counter-Strike 2 will also feature a new format.

The modifications have a big impact on how teams and players will compete and strategize, and they also have a big impact on how operators and suppliers currently provide CS: GO betting.

Let’s discuss these format modifications.

Shorter Matches

To put it simply, matches will last shorter. However, it’s helpful to clarify the precise how and why. The community calls the current system “MR15“, which stands for:

  • 30 regular-time rounds divided into two halves of 15.
  • The match is won by whoever wins 16 rounds.

This system was present in the game’s previous iteration, Counter-Strike 1.6, for well over a decade. Professional Counter-Strike matches are commonly longer and much closer as a result of changes to the game’s fundamental systems, such as the economy. The average Counter-Strike three-mapper finished a 2-1 series of CS: GO that lasted nearly three and a half hours, the length of two Formula One races.

According to the new “MR12“ system, Counter-Strike 2 matches will be:

  • A total of 24 regular-time rounds divided into two 12-round halves.
  • The match winner is the first to 13 rounds.
  • The MR15 overtime regulations are applicable.

It translates to shorter, sharper, punchier, and less attention-grabbing games for eSports players. This change resembling the current VALORANT system should keep audiences interested in CS2 and ease the pressure on professional players who already have a full schedule.

At first glance, shorter games with higher stakes and more rested players appear to be a major victory for the betting industry. On the data front, there are some difficulties brought about by the format change.

New Models Follow the New Format

Suppliers in the iGaming industry were generally optimistic before the MR12 announcement that they could use their CS: GO models as a starting point and adjust their foundational models to account for changes in gameplay and system architecture.

Regretfully, 30-round game-based modeling is used by eSports data and product suppliers. The modeling simply doesn’t add up when it pertains to pricing markets such as rounds over/under, handicap, or correct score. The majority of markets provided by eSports suppliers aren’t transferable, but match-winner markets are. When there are 24 rounds in regular time, a 24/25 line for rounds over/under is no longer logical and needs to be recreated using the MR12 format.

Furthermore, it will be necessary to update the modeling used to predict the first two rounds and rebuild the previous first-to-13 markets as first-to-10. It’s crucial that suppliers take their time developing player markets like kills over/under because it’s no longer possible to weigh 30.5 kills in a game as it once was.

What MR12 Implies for Betting on eSports

There will be a significant impact on all of the suppliers in the industry. Both official and unofficial competitive data will be scarce to nonexistent to use as a foundation. VALORANT modeling won’t apply even though it’s MR12 because it’s a totally different game with significantly different maps, character abilities, and other features. When Valve does decide to move forward with Counter-Strike 2 professional matches, they’ll likely take a far more cautious approach.

Suppliers, operators, and bettors should all anticipate seeing fewer markets at more cautious prices during the initial weeks following launch. Models will be gradually released as suppliers are able to gather more competitive data. The fact that Valve hasn’t yet disclosed a timeline for the switch itself only serves to increase the complexity.

Although the game’s bugs are still being worked out, it’s always possible that a tournament using CS2 will run into an unfixable bug or malfunction. Under these circumstances, Valve might decide to resume using CS: GO for the duration of the competition.

However, one thing we know for sure is that eSports suppliers will be prepared for the switch and on standby. With so much potential for Counter-Strike 2, suppliers must be adaptable and nimble in order for operators to quickly ramp up their offering and for bettors to access the well-known markets, which CS2 betting sites certainly are.


It hasn’t even been two months since the full release, despite the fact that professional players have voiced concerns about the condition of the game. Thus, the developers have plenty of time to address any possible problems.

As the first Major in Copenhagen approaches (next March), the scenery will only get better.