From Skill To Skins & Scams – The Changing Faces of Counter-Strike
At this point, everyone has heard about the scummy behaviour surrounding Counter-Strike GO gambling and two bell ends exploiting the trust of their tween fans. It oddly says a fair amount about the current state of Counter-Strike, a series once treasured as the retreat from the gimmicks of main stream multiplayer.
Counter-Strike is one of the most important video games ever. Its MOD roots grew from the thriving scene in the 90′s, a scene that incubated so many great ideas and talents.
There’s no short cuts or gimmicks to Counter-Strike, it was the most raw version of team based multiplayer. Skill was king, communication and team work was vital, a true triumph in video games. Its core rule set would influence thousands of future games. Yet here we are, Counter-Strike has been reduced to a toxic cosmetic fest.
Veterans of the series will no doubt gush over the golden age of 1.6, while bemoaning Source. Counter-Strike has been through various changes and face lifts, not all of them warmly welcomed. Attempts at cracking the console market have also popped up, but the PC was always the true home of the series.
Global Offensive represented the biggest change in the series. I still have the 3D Beta cards an t-shirt from Eurogamer Expo 2011, where Counter-Strike: GO was playable. The initial release was not welcomed by the fans. Complaints about map tweeks and new weapons left a number of veterans sticking to older versions of the game.
Over time, Counter-Strike: GO changed and improved, garnering a larger player base in the process. The Pro scene began to thrive and things looked good. In 2013, cosmetics were added, to the dismay of many. It was never a major issue, but people expressed worry for the game’s future.
It’s 2016, all of the worries expressed have came true. Conuter-Strike gambling is massive, even though it’s always existed. Given the game was one of the original ‘big’ e-sports, people have been able to place bets on pro games for ages. There’s a long history of dirty dealings and match fixing in this regard. The difference with Counter-Strike: GO is the bets are skin based.
Believe it or not, some skins are worth thousands. This makes the world of Counter-Strike: GO gambling highly lucrative. Sites hosting such activities have been shunned the old guard, but that hasn’t stopped them from exploding in popularity. The rise of Youtubers opening packs of cards and boxes was the perfect wave for these sites to ride. Soon, people like TmarTn and Syndicate were gambling on their channels.
These people rarely gives two shits about the game. Counter-Strike, a game once treasured for its pure essence of gameplay, is now this. A means to gamble, a side project for some fuck boy youtubers wanting to steal the dinner money of their tween fans. Its annoying to see the game left with such an image. Match fixing, gambling and Youtuber wankery. Can it get any worse?
I’m not saying the game is bad, but my God has the landscape changed. Low price points (thanks to Steam sales) have opened up the game to hackers aplenty. Try-hards on their Twitch streams vomit toxicity in games to try appease their viewers. There’s also the thriving scene in which people try to scam others out of their skins. The real world value of many skins has produced so many poisonous effects. Trolls run wild knowing they can just switch to their others accounts to escape punishment. As lame as it sounds, the spirit of Counter-Strike has been lost.
Where does the game go from here? viewership for the Pro scene is on the decline. Gambling sites have left the game’s image tarnished. How does, assuming it can, Counter-Strike turn a corner? There’s only a certain amount of hits a game can take before its credibility is left in tatters. Between hackers, gambling and general toxicity, Counter-Strike is under a rather large cloud.