Valve Just Massively Increased The Prize Money For Professional Counter-Strike

Fans had been harping on it for years. If Valve was so flushed with cash from Steam, Dota 2 and events like The International, and people were happy to spend oodles of money on skins, cases and stickers in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, why were the Valve-sponsored CSGO tournaments only capped at US$250,000?

Well, they're not any more. As of today, they're much, much bigger.

In a post on the official Counter-Strike blog, the prize pool for every CSGO major tournament (Valve-sponsored events, in other words) will be US$1 million, a four-fold increase on the previous US$250,000.

That money also doesn't include what teams and players can earn from sticker and skin sales over the course of the events, which often turn out to be much more lucrative than their winnings.

"CSGO tournaments are now among the largest esports events in the world, drawing global audiences of millions of viewers," Valve wrote, "filling massive venues, and garnering higher prize pools. Professional CS:GO has grown, and the CS:GO Major Championships are about to grow with it."

The first CSGO major to feature a million dollar prize pool will be MLG Columbus at the end of March. 8 teams have been invited to the 16 team event so far, with Australian teams getting an opportunity to attend via qualifiers.


    I can't think of a better use for that kind of cash either, Valve.

      As sad as it is, the only time gaming tournaments get any mainstream media coverage is when they post $1 million prize pools. If Valve wants to push esports and push CS:GO as one of the premier esports, this is the most obvious step to get people's attention.

        Oh totally, I just hope they commit to it. They have more experiments going on than Bunsen and Beaker.

          Dota started with a million-dollar prize pool and it's gone upwards ever since.

    I hope they throw a little of that TF2's way once matchmaking comes out (and if it's fully supported by Valve). The last international LAN event the top prize didn't even cover the flights for the competitors - every single player, even if they won the whole thing, lost money just to compete and that money was exclusively raised by fan donations.

      I doubt they will... Overwatch is too similar, and has all the new game hype going for it. Provided Blizzard don't absolutely screw the pooch (and it looks like they're putting a pretty heavy emphasis on competitive play already), it'll be another nail in the coffin of competitive TF2.

        Everyone says they're similar, but beyond just having a nice art style (and I don't think they're the same style either as some have also said) I think they're actually pretty different. I think TF2 is much more rooted in twitch skills and movement (although significantly slower than the Quakes and Unreal tournaments that initially gave birth to that particular form of multiplayer shooter) while Overwatch is much more interested in skills of knowledge and timing (this ulti counters that one, this part of the map lends itself to this sort of setup etc.).

        While there are definitely similarities and overlap between the two games I think they're actually going for very different angles; TF2 is a class based shooter focused around skill, movement and knowledge (roughly in that order) while Overwatch looks to be an almost hybrid of FPS and MOBA lite focused on knowledge, timing and skill (roughly in that order). The big thing that I think is keeping TF2 alive is the skill ceiling for the movement (at over 1300 hours I haven't come close to nailing the movement, while other shooters leave me feeling like I've mastered the movement in an hour or two) which, on top of a solid base of rock-paper-scisors type class of interaction, really makes the game have a depth that most modern games don't touch in my eyes.

        The media coverage I've seen comparing Overwatch to TF2 seems to come from people that haven't really played a lot of TF2 and all of the big TF2 players and youtubers that have had access to the Overwatch beta have said that it feels very different, especially in the movement department, but also with a focus on ultis taking precedence over raw skill (although that too plays a part of course). All that said I haven't been able to try Overwatch out for myself and am quite keen to, I'm only basing my views on the opinions put forward by prominent TF2 figures that almost unanimously agree it's focus and required skill set are very different. If TF2 can survive almost nine years as one of the most popular multi-player games I think it'll survive the release of one game, even if it will impact player numbers for a while.

        Last edited 24/02/16 10:44 pm

          I remember reading an article a while back about Overwatch teams poaching players from TF2. I think the issue is that the skills are pretty transferable - a really good TF2 players is, with a bit of practice, probably going to be a really good OW player. If Valve doesn't do anything to improve the TF2 scene, and those players are seeing all the hype and opportunities around OW, I don't think there'll be much stopping them from making the switch

            I remember that article, (assuming it was the same one) a couple of months after that article the (arguably) biggest loss from the TF2 community, Clockwork, returned to play in the competitive TF2 scene as did a few others, further perpetuating the joke that no-one quits TF2 (numlocked, a big name in the EU TF2 scene, famously quit TF2 to play DOTA2 and was quite high up in it as well, earning a lot more money from it than he did from TF2, although not all that much of course, and a year later or so he was back, TF2 is a really sticky comp scene that breeds a following like the old comp. Smash bros scene before they had a boost in prize pools and like the somehow still around Quake scene). Yeah, the Overwatch marketing team are kind of responsible for a lot of the comparisons made to TF2 and the subsequent aggressive targeting of TF2 players, but from what I've heard from the comp community Overwatch's movement doesn't carry the same skill ceiling or indeed demand the same skill sets that TF2 does (at one time a lot of the top soldiers in TF2 were old Quake and Unreal Tournament figures).

            Again, all of this is second hand, I haven't played it myself so I could be misinterpreting what they've said and misrepresenting a game I actually am pretty keen to play (it looks like the game is the interesting parts of MOBAs without the ridiculous knowledge requirements and an accessible presentation). Personally I've found Valve has been making good steps towards supporting the comp scene more and more, officially working on matchmaking and talking directly to some of the big names in the scene, so I'm hopeful it might get a little support, but I certainly don't think it would be able to compete with scenes like those of Overwatch, CS:GO or DOTA2, just that I don't think it'll die because of the upswing in the popularity of the esports scenes for these games.

              I wonder if they'll just kind of let the TF2 scene bubble along, and then really make a go of it with TF3 (if it ever comes out)

                That would probably would be a good strategy, although they said in the past they would aim to incrementally upgrade TF2. Would be really cool to see if they did that though.

    Old news.

    We like it or not but we are liveing in the world that is crazy. Esports are full legal market of sports industry and it will be growing and growing, thats 100% sure thing. The best players are popstars like singers or actors and making huge money on it. The worst thing is even bookmakers get ionto it, they know there is great money to earn and their potential clients are very young and easy to control their minds. In Korea the national discipline of sport is Counter Strike for example. Crazy huh? Im abou forty years now and its hard to understand for me

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