CS:GO News LIST

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Stay updated and find the latest news about CS:GO.


Seven CS:GO teams reportedly warned by Valve to resolve conflicts of interest

Valve has reportedly told seven notable esports organisations to resolve conflicts of interest in regards to team ownership before the next major in November. In an email obtained by HLTV, Valve reportedly lists three separate instances of ownership or co-ownership where competitive integrity could be threatened after the latest declarations of interests by CS:GO teams and players. Brazilian team Yeah, which is co-owned by four CS:GO pro players who represent three other teams, presents the most complicated of the three conflicts of interest. Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo and Ricardo "Dead" Sinigaglia of MIBR, Wilton 'Zews' Prado of Evil Geniuses, and Marcelo 'Coldzera' David of FaZe Clan all co-own the team and HLTV reports that Yeah has a financial agreement with Immortals Gaming Club (the parent company that owns MIBR). This agreement includes Immortals being able to buy out Yeah players for a set price each year. All this together means that there are a number of ways in which a conflict of interest could arise. Read the rest of the story... RELATED LINKS: Astralis' Dev1ce admits he still "throws up" after finishing every CS:GO tournament Skadoodle officially switches from CS:GO to Valorant after signing for T1 You can play table tennis in CS:GO now

Astralis' Dev1ce admits he still "throws up" after finishing every CS:GO tournament

Astralis AWPer Nicolai 'Dev1ce' Reedtz has admitted in an interview that he still suffers from stress-related symptoms after CS:GO events, including vomiting for "a day and a half" after competing. Dev1ce reveals to Danish sports broadcaster TV 2 Sport that the effects of his stress-induced Irritable Bowel Syndrome - which he first opened up about in 2018 after missing the final months of competing in 2017 - still plague him after finishing "every single tournament" he plays in. While the Astralis star admits it is something he has now learnt to live with, he says it can cause him to throw up for up to 36 hours after competing as his adrenaline levels fall. Despite telling HLTV earlier this year that he was feeling positive about Astralis choosing to decline tournament invitations and make the team's schedule less packed, it seems that the pressure, excitement, and nerves of competing are still affecting Dev1ce in a negative way. Astralis has been put under the microscope in recent weeks after both Andreas 'Xyp9x' Højsleth and Lukas 'Gla1ve' Rossander took leave from the starting roster due to stress and burnout. Read the rest of the story... RELATED LINKS: Seven CS:GO teams reportedly warned by Valve to resolve conflicts of interest Skadoodle officially switches from CS:GO to Valorant after signing for T1 You can play table tennis in CS:GO now

Skadoodle officially switches from CS:GO to Valorant after signing for T1

It was one of the first big organisations to commit to competitive Valorant during its beta, and now T1 has completed its five-man roster with the signing of CS:GO pro Tyler 'Skadoodle' Latham. The 26-year-old has been relatively inactive in the competitive Counter-Strike scene over the last year or so, but previously found success with Cloud9, most notably winning Season 4 of the ESL Pro League and the 2018 ELEAGUE Major in Boston. Skadoodle has now made the switch over to Riot's first-person shooter and says he is "beyond excited to compete again" with T1. Skadoodle joins Austin 'Crashies' Roberts, Keven 'AZK' Larivière, Braxton 'Brax' Pierce, and Victor 'Food' Wong at T1 in what looks to be one of the most complete and fearsome looking Valorant rosters that has been formed to date. Skadoodle is regarded as one of the beta's top players and already has an impressive portfolio of big plays. Read the rest of the story... RELATED LINKS: Seven CS:GO teams reportedly warned by Valve to resolve conflicts of interest Astralis' Dev1ce admits he still "throws up" after finishing every CS:GO tournament You can play table tennis in CS:GO now

You can play table tennis in CS:GO now

The Steam Workshop can be a strange place sometimes. And when the description of an add-on or map reads: "I don't know why I did this but it's quite fun," you know you've probably stumbled across something super strange. Well, guess what. You can now swap your AWP for a paddle if you so desire, because one creative fan has made a new table tennis mode for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. As featured in TL;DR, Reddit user Imaniakk posted a video of his weird creation, which is already the fifth most popular map on Workplace at the time of writing, that sees Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists aim to serve, spin, slice, and smash their way to points. Well, there might not be that much control over your paddle, but it still looks a good laugh. Over 31,000 CS:GO players have already subscribed to Imaniakk's table tennis mode and around 12,000 have upvoted his Reddit post. Read the rest of the story... RELATED LINKS: Seven CS:GO teams reportedly warned by Valve to resolve conflicts of interest Astralis' Dev1ce admits he still "throws up" after finishing every CS:GO tournament Skadoodle officially switches from CS:GO to Valorant after signing for T1

Shroud says good hardware doesn't make you a good player

If you're into competitive games, there is always the temptation to upgrade your gear. From keyboards to CPUs to monitors, gear can almost always get better and the best players on the scene get the best of the best. However, one of the best Michael 'Shroud' Grzesiek says that good hardware doesn't make a player good despite what some people may think. Talking to his fans on stream in a

Hammer Time

Hammer Time Today we’re releasing the Warhammer 40,000 Sticker Capsule, featuring 17 unique stickers from across the 40K universe. From the paper Full Buy sticker to the foil Chaos Space Marine, collect and apply them to your weapons today; the Capsule is now available in-game! A Change of Scenery Hammer Time The next time you launch CS:GO you'll find a new Video Setting which allows you to change your main menu background. Whether you prefer a light or dark feel, Anubis or Phoenix Facility, there's something for everyone. Small Details Hammer Time Lastly, we've recently added kill feed icons for blind kills, kills through smoke, flash kills, and no scope sniper kills. Today we're adding a new kill feed icon when players die from C4 explosions. Look for these the next time a CT forgets their Defuse Kit!

Cleaning Out the Cobwebs

Operation Shattered Web wraps up today. Thanks to all of the CS:GO players who participated–over the span of the operation, you completed over 136 million missions! The operation may be over, but there’s more to see in today’s update. Cleaning Out the Cobwebs Today we are adding two community created maps to our official matchmaking pool in Scrimmage and Casual game modes. Check out Anubis and Chlorine, two of the top finalists in Mapcore's 2019 Exotic Places map contest. Cleaning Out the Cobwebs Also today we are adding a new case, the Prisma 2 Collection! Lightly based on Anime/Manga themes, the collection features 17 community created weapon finishes, as well as the chance to receive a Horizon Collection knife in one of the Chroma finishes.

Grand Finale

Grand Finale We're in the final weeks of Operation Shattered Web, and players have until March 30th to play missions, earn progress, and redeem Operation rewards. Today the final mission card goes live which means we'll start issuing Diamond Operation Coins to users who have completed 100 missions. This week's card, "It's Time To Take Out The Trash", includes a second co-op Strike mission tasking players with finding and eliminating Franz Kriegeld. Don't let him escape!

Patch Notes

Today’s update includes a revamped buy menu, a simple way to customize (and share) your crosshair, and an all new way to personalize your favorite agents! Introducing Patches Patch Notes Looking for a way to personalize your agent? Patches featuring a variety of classic designs can now be applied to specific locations on each character model, and you can apply more than one for each agent. You can find patches in the CS:GO Patch Pack, available now. Choose Your Own Crosshair Patch Notes Customizing your crosshair has never been easier. Head over to the settings menu, where you’ll find a variety of crosshair settings that can be tuned to your personal taste. You can share your crosshair code with others or import a code to try someone else’s. Full Buy Patch Notes Today’s update also includes a visual rework of the buy menu, featuring an interactive preview of your character holding weapons and equipment. Along with some slight rearranging, now you can preview the equipment you can afford with illuminated icons in the buy wheel. New operation missions – Light Buy Patch Notes Maximize your earnings. Play new Shattered Web Operation missions beginning Tuesday at 2:00 pm PT.

From Russia With Love

From Russia With Love Grab an AK and queue for Cache and Train in Casual, Competitive, Wingman, and Guardian game modes.

Pump up the Volume

Pump up the Volume Subtlety is not required when using the overpowered weapons in this week's missions. It is ok to make a little noise, go big, be bold, and have fun!

Maximum Impact

Maximum Impact Show off your specialized skills while completing this week's varied set of missions!

A Dry Heat

A Dry Heat This week's missions move the operation to areas which feature CS:GO's arid climates. Play Casual, Guardian, Wingman, and Deathmatch game modes on Dust II, Mirage, Shortdust and others. Stay hydrated.

Raw Athleticism

Raw Athleticism The Shattered Web missions for week 10 are now ready to play! Get 15 default pistol kills in Deathmatch, 20 M4A1-S kills in Gaurdian: Canals, 5 kills with the enemy's rifle in Casual: Dust II, 3 knife kills in Arms Race, deal 100 utility damage in Competitive, and earn 5 aces in Wingman. Easy Peasy.

Just Having a Good Day

Just Having a Good Day Repeat this soothing consolation should you run into any trouble completing this week's set of challenging missions.

Italian Job

Italian Job The itinerary for this Italian adventure features tours of five iconic locales in Casual, Competitive, Guardian, Wingman, and Deathmatch game modes.

The biggest Counter-Strike moments of the last decade

The decade in Counter-Strike truly began on August 21, 2012, but the seven years since made up for its late start. In the 2010s Counter-Strike grew to become one of the largest esports in the world and arguably Valve's flagship game, depending on how you feel about Dota 2. And though its future is uncertain, Counter-Strike is in a far better place now than it was 10 years ago. Let’s look back on the evolution of Counter-Strike by examining the biggest moments in the series of the past decade. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive launches It's easy to forget that in 2010, Counter-Strike was in a tough spot. The community was split between the Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source for years, and Valve had given neither game the level of attention and updates we now expect from competitive games. By 2011, Valve announced a sequel, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. CS:GO aimed to unite both 1.6 and Source players, but interestingly, one of the initial goals of the project was also to bring the series to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 before a new generation of hardware appeared.  Longtime fans of the series didn't immediately switch over at launch, however, thanks to bugs and mechanical changes (for example, absence of flinch animations). For a time, CS' population was almost evenly split between three games, something I don't think we've ever seen in a competitive franchise. Fortunately, thanks to a number of quick updates in the early months of the game (and the addition of an item economy one year later), CS:GO began to stand on its own and unite Counter-Strike players new and old. Ninjas in Pyjamas domination  87 wins. Zero losses. That is the longest match winning streak on LAN in CS:GO history. And it is held by the game’s very first superteam: Ninjas in Pyjamas. When CS:GO launched, the Swedish organization brought together many of the stars of both 1.6 and Source and formed a squad that was unmatched. Even when their match streak was broken in 2013, NiP continued to win tournaments throughout the remainder of the year and into 2014. This culminated in a Major championship at ESL One: Cologne 2014 , the team’s only Major victory in five Grand Finals appearances. Their success helped raise the standard of play and the profile of CS:GO. All things must end, however, and NiP began to decline later that year. But in its period of dominance, the team spurred fellow CS:GO players and teams to greater competitive heights. Valve adds a new gun, experiences instant regret  Over the development of its most successful multiplayer shooter before CS:GO, Team Fortress 2, Valve had figured out a playbook for keeping the game interesting: make guns and items that subverts players' expectations, pulling the rug out from under them. On December 8, 2015, did exactly that when it introduced the R8 Revolver to CS:GO, but the effect it had was instantly harmful. What made the R8, dubbed the Revolvo by the community, so notorious was its unparalleled power-per-dollar. It could kill unarmored and armored targets alike with a close range body shot, was more accurate at a longer range than an AK-47, and could be fired while defusing a bomb. All of this in a sidearm, meaning it could be carried alongside an AWP. When the update was introduced, matches quickly devolved into 5v5 shootouts where everyone used the R8. In what is one of the fastest response times from Valve in its history, nearly every aspect of the R8 was nerfed within three days after it was originally introduced. It instantly fell out of use, and it’s rarely seen nowadays. But for a brief time, the Revolvo was king.  The rise of skins (and skin gambling) While CS:GO was popular, the addition of weapon skins made it skyrocket to the top of the Steam charts. With their introduction in August 2013, a virtual economy formed that saw players trading the skins they had acquired, be it from weapon cases, watching competitive games, or random in-game drops. But as the skin economy grew, the economy behind it began to move outside of the more regulated confines of the Steam Marketplace. Websites that used Steam’s API created skin gambling, where players on competitive matches by using their skins as currency. Scandals quickly followed; players were banned for match fixing using skins , lawsuits were filed over underage gambling , and governments opened investigations into how Valve handled the practice . In a way, the controversies over skin gambling parallel the loot box scandals that would come in 2017. While Valve has done much to combat it, skin gambling remains active to this day. An American team finally wins a Major The most important tournaments in CS:GO are the Majors, which feature the biggest prize pools and the best teams. And while every Major has compelling storylines, the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018 stands a cut above the rest thanks to the David vs. Goliath saga of Cloud9. With most of this era dominated by Europe, the American team was an underdog heading into the 2018 tournament. Cloud9 had never finished in the Top 8 at a Major, and recent performances left a lot to be desired. Against all odds, Cloud9 surpassed several of the best teams in the world and found itself squaring off against the superstars of FaZe Clan in the Grand Finals. Ultimately, Cloud9 upset FaZe in a double-overtime final map to win the Boston Major. It was the first time an American team won a Major—on home soil, no less. Though the roster broke up before the players could defend their title, Cloud9’s win in Boston stands as one of the greatest moments in CS:GO. CS:GO goes free-to-play CS:GO’s structure forever changed in December 2018 when Valve made it free-to-play after six years and added a new battle royale mode called Danger Zone. Considering both moves came at a time when the battle royale genre had taken the video game industry by storm, it was clear that both decisions were made to shore up CS:GO’s playerbase. One day after the change was made, over 14,000 negative Steam reviews hit its store page decrying the move to free-to-play, citing the lack of reward for players who paid for the game and the changes to matchmaking as two prime factors. Despite player unhappiness, the days immediately following the transition saw CS:GO reach its highest player count in nearly two years. 

Hot Shot

Hot Shot The missions unlocking this week test your aim and ability. Play in Guardian, Danger Zone, Casual, Competitive and Death Match to earn your operation stars.

Field Trip

Field Trip Leave the gear behind, we are going on a windy walk here. This week's missions reward those with a sense of adventure and an appreciation for the finer things. Field Trip Yesterday, we released a new music kit featuring Scarlxrd. With heavy trap beats and unique delivery, 'King, Scar' brings a new and exciting musical subgenre. If you haven't already, grab a kit, gxxd luck and have fun!

Sniper's Den

Sniper's Den Hold an angle and keep your opponents locked down; the missions in week 4 of Operation Shattered Web feature a number of sniper-based scenarios built to test your mettle. Sniper's Den Happy Holidays! It is that magical time of year once again, the Ts have wrapped up their special package, the chickens put on their holiday sweaters, and you can toss a few snowballs at your friends.

A Day at the Office

A Day at the Office No reports will be filed, collated, copied or stapled this week. Six more Shattered Web missions unlock today and the office is definitely getting wrecked.

New Shattered Web Missions Unlocked

New Shattered Web Missions Unlocked This week's collection of missions, Secret Agent Man, unlocks today! Grab your MP5-SD and quietly make your mark on Nuke. Earn more stars in a variety of game modes to advance your Shattered Web Operation Coin and reap the rewards!

Operation Shattered Web

Introducing Operation Shattered Web. For the first time in CS:GO, bring your favorite character into battle with all-new equippable agents. Earn rewards featuring the new agents, all-new weapon collections, stickers, graffiti, and more through a new battle pass format. Complete weekly Operation Missions in various game modes including Co-op Guardian and a new Co-op Strike Mission! See the rewards and learn more at the Operation Shattered Web page. Purchase the Operation Pass and start earning rewards today! Complete missions to earn stars and unlock up to 41 separate rewards. Haven't purchased a pass? All users can still play missions, participate in all game modes, and purchase a pass at any time to receive all rewards associated with your progress. Operation Shattered Web Operation Rewards Characters For the first time in CS:GO, unlock all-new T and CT-sided characters equippable on any map. All-new CT Operators and T Agents are available as mission progress rewards. Complete missions and earn Stars to unlock them and equip them for deployment. Or equip the default Local Agent or Operator to use the pre-existing map-based characters. New Collections Earn rewards from the all-new Norse, St. Marc, Canals, and Shattered Web weapon collections. Operation Shattered Web Shattered Web Knives Introducing four new knives in original finishes. Open a Shattered Web Case for a chance at one of four new knives, the Paracord handled field knife, the Survival, the Nomad, and the Skeleton knife. Operation Shattered Web Shattered Web Sticker Collection Collect all-new Shattered Web stickers, featuring designs by daniDem, available only as rewards during Operation Shattered Web. Operation Shattered Web Missions Receive new missions each week. Complete missions to earn stars, unlock rewards, bonus XP and Operation Coin upgrades. Learn more at the Operation Shattered Web page. https://store.steampowered.com/app/730

Esports pros face same stress levels as football and rugby stars, new study states

Stress levels faced by top-level esports players are equal to those experienced by professional athletes. That's according to a new study from the University of Chichester, which looked at the psychological impact of major esports contests on those taking part. The study, titled Identifying Stressors and Coping Strategies of Elite Esports Competitors, will be published in the International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations. Read more

Counter-Strike has characters now

For 20 years, Counter-Strike players have worn generic character skins into their minutes-long matches. In-game terrorist factions like the "Phoenix Connexion" or "Elite Crew" have fought spec-ops groups like GSG-9 and the SAS. Through the immeasurable repetition of CS, these drab default outfits embedded themselves in the identity of the game. With Operation Shattered Web, that's changing. "For the first time in CS:GO, unlock all-new T and CT-sided characters equippable on any map," writes Valve on a microsite announcing the update. "All-new CT Operators and T Agents are available as mission progress rewards. Complete missions and earn Stars to unlock them and equip them for deployment. Or equip the default Local Agent or Operator to use the pre-existing map-based characters." The new characters are unlockable, equippable skins, essentially. There are 22 of them, and Valve uses rarity-like descriptors like "Superior Agent" and "Exceptional Agent" to distinguish them. The highest tier are "Master Agents," like Lt. Commander Ricksaw or Special Agent Ava of the FBI. These four characters come with special voice lines and animations (presumably third-person, end-of-match celebrations, not first-person animations).  Shattered Web, CS:GO's first operation in two years, is $15. That's a bump from the $6 that operations like Hydra (2017) and Wildfire (2016) were priced at. These earlier operations mostly introduced new maps and modes to CS:GO, which Shattered Web also includes: Studio, Lunacy, and Jungle, each available in different modes of play. A package of new skins, stickers, and cosmetic graffiti are also available.

Workshop Update: Mac-10

Workshop Update: Mac-10 The Mac-10 had some quality of life improvements made to the UV and cavity maps in the recent game update. These changes were made to correct the inconsistent wear patterns, fix factory new finishes with noticeable wear, and to make the projected texture easier to work with. These updates are now reflected in the Workshop Resources. If you have a Custom Paint Job, Gunsmith, or Patina Mac-10 finish posted to your workshop, we recommend that you update these finishes using the new resources. We also welcome contributors that have already had their Mac-10 submissions included in the game to update the submission if they notice any discrepancies after this update.

CS:GO container keys can no longer be resold because they were being used for money laundering

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive container keys, which are purchased with real money and used to unlock the game's equivalent of loot boxes, can no longer be resold. In other words, the keys will not be able to leave the purchasing account, thus making it impossible to sell them on the Steam Community Market. The reason? Valve has learned that they're being used to launder money. "In the past, most key trades we observed were between legitimate customers," the company wrote on the Counter-Strike website.  "However, worldwide fraud networks have recently shifted to using CS:GO keys to liquidate their gains. At this point, nearly all key purchases that end up being traded or sold on the marketplace are believed to be fraud-sourced. As a result we have decided that newly purchased keys will not be tradeable or marketable." The statement adds that while some (but clearly not many) legitimate users may be affected, "combating fraud is something we continue to prioritize across Steam and our products". Valve also notes in its statement that "pre-existing CS:GO container keys are unaffected–those keys can still be sold on the Steam Community Market and traded." It's a big deal to have Valve directly acknowledge that keys are being used for money laundering, and of course, it's not the first time CS:GO's reward systems have been used in shady ways. CS:GO skin gambling came under the spotlight in 2016 when two prominent YouTubers were found to be heavily promoting without disclosure their own skin lottery website. Valve gave chase, issuing more than 20 cease-and-desist orders against similar sites, but that didn't stop the Washington State Gambling Commission from getting involved. In response to looming regulation in France, last month a CS:GO update introduced a new X-ray Scanner for that country, which basically allows users to check the content of containers before they're unlocked. 

20,000 toxic CS:GO players banned in six weeks by FACEIT and Google's new chat AI

A new AI built to combat toxicity in online gaming has banned 20,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players within its first six weeks, solely by analyzing messages in the game's text chat. The AI is called Minerva, and it's built by a team at online gaming platform FACEIT—which organised 2018's CS:GO London Major—in collaboration with Google Cloud and Jigsaw, a Google tech incubator. Minerva started examining CS:GO chat messages in late August, and in the first month-and-a-half marked 7,000,000 messages as toxic, issued 90,000 warnings, and banned 20,000 players.  The AI, trained through machine learning, first issued a warning for verbal abuse if it perceived a toxic message, while also flagging spam messages. Within a few seconds of a match finishing, Minerva sent notifications of either a warning or a ban to the offending player, and punishments grew harsher for repeat offenders. The number of toxic messages reduced from by 20% between August and September while the AI was in use, and the number of unique players sending toxic messages dropped by 8%.  The trial started after "months" of eliminating false positives, and it's only the first step in rolling out Minerva to online games. "In-game chat detection is only the first and most simplistic of the applications of Minerva and more of a case study that serves as a first step toward our vision for this AI," FACEIT said in a blog post. "We’re really excited about this foundation as it represents a strong base that will allow us to improve Minerva until we finally detect and address all kinds of abusive behaviors in real-time." "In the coming weeks we will announce new systems that will support Minerva in her training." Thanks, PCGamesN.

Counter-Strike and Overwatch esports teams under investigation by Australian police

Earlier this year, the first major investigation into corruption in Australian esports revealed allegations of professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players rigging matches. Last month, Kotaku Australia reported six Australians had been arrested in connection with the investigation, but were later released "pending further inquiries". Now, an ABC News report has revealed an Australian Overwatch Contenders team has found itself under fire also. Read more

CS20 Submission Deadline Extended

CS20 Submission Deadline Extended The response to the CS20 event has been phenomenal! Although we're excited to sort through all of the great content that has been submitted, we realize some of you might still be putting the finishing touches on your submissions. So we're extending the deadline for submissions to October 7th. There won't be any more extensions, so make sure all of your content and changes are submitted by this date to be eligible for the event weapon case or sticker capsule. GLHF!

Watch the Berlin Major Championship

The final eight teams are ready for the Champions stage of the StarLadder Berlin Major at the Mercedes-Benz Arena! After a hotly contested Legends stage, ENCE and NRG finished 3-0, Vitality, Astralis, and AVANGAR finished at 3-1 while Na’Vi, Liquid, and Renegades made the cut with a 3-2 record. Watch live coverage beginning Thursday 6:00 pm (GMT+2) on Steam.tv, on the official Twitch stream, and in-game on GOTV to see which team will become the next CS:GO Major Champions.

Six CS:GO players arrested for alleged match-fixing in Australia

Australian police have arrested six Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players during an investigation into suspicious betting activity in an esports league. It's alleged that the six men, all between 19 and 22 years old, arranged to lose matches in advance and then placed bets on those matches.  At least five matches were affected during an unnamed CS:GO tournament, and more than 20 bets were placed on those matches by Australian punters. The six men, four from Melbourne suburbs and two from Mount Eliza, Victoria, face up to ten years in prison. They have been released pending further inquiries.  The investigation began in March after a tip-off from a betting company, and detectives continue to work with a number of betting companies, including Sportsbet, in relation to the case. Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson said: "Esports is really an emerging sporting industry and with that will come the demand for betting availability on the outcomes of tournaments and matches. "These warrants also highlight that police will take any reports of suspicious or criminal activity within esports seriously, and we encourage anyone with information to come forward." Thanks, Kotaku.

Valve talks Steam China, curation and exclusivity

Valve, alongside its business partner in China, Perfect World, has given us an update on the progress of Steam China today, after both companies had been silent on the topic for over a year. Eurogamer attended the brief presentation, given by Perfect World CEO Dr. Robert H. Xiao in Shanghai, where a small number of local and international press were told the companies were "one more step closer" to launching Steam China, which will be separate from the international version of Steam. A handful of launch games were revealed, including Dota 2 and Dota Underlords. There were no actual launch dates or broader windows mentioned for Steam China itself, mind, nor a look at how that storefront may shape up or any details on its features, barring the fact it'll support VR, multiplayer games, interesting games with "innovative, creative ideas," and "single-player games with abundant storylines". As far as we could tell, none of the non-Chinese launch games had official approval just yet, either. In Xiao's words, "the Steam China project is undergoing solidly and smoothly" - but what is it, exactly? As it stands, Steam is actually widely available for Chinese players already. As of right now we've tested and confirmed it's possible to buy, download and play games through the Steam store in China as usual, with no issues - and no need for a VPN. Community features, such as discussion forums, are unavailable, but otherwise the platform as it stands still acts as a huge loophole in the Chinese government's strict regulation of games. Where it might take many months of admin and applications for a game to get through the approval process - if it gets through at all - or many revisions to a game's content to ensure it meets the various Chinese standards, that same game can already be bought and played in China, unfiltered, unregistered and unchanged, on regular old Steam. Read more

CS:GO map Workout removed from official matchmaking, two new maps added

The latest update for CS:GO is a significant one. Two maps have been added to the Defusal Group Sigma competitive pool, one of which is the popular Seaside map and the other a new one called Breach. Breach is, according to the CS:GO blog, "a defusal map set in a spacious corporate building". If you want to try the new maps they're in Deathmatch and Casual, and are also available as Scrimmage maps under the Competitive tab.  Scrimmage is a five-on-five mode which doesn't affect your Skill Group. As Valve explain it: "When you play a Scrimmage map all of the competitive rules are the same, but there are no restrictions on players in your party, and your Skill Group will not be adjusted or displayed after your match." On the way out is the Workout map, which will no longer pop up in official matchmaking. The Vertigo map has also been modified in some pretty significant ways including new approach to site B. For the full list of changes, check out the patch notes.

From Counter-Strike 1.6 pro to DreamHack COO, the rise of Anna Nordlander

Anna Nordlander started competing in Counter-Strike in 2003. Sixteen years later, she's the chief operating officer at DreamHack, the international esports company that started the event that changed her life. You slept on the floor and the prize pool was next to nothing. Anna Nordlander A lot has changed in the years since Nordlander's first tournament. Instead of Counter-Strike 1.6, esports teams are playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Okay, that's not actually a big change—but with massive games like Fortnite and League of Legends and Dota 2 pushing esports forward, players are now competing for millions of dollars on massive stages, streamed to fans all over the world. And that is a different world than the one Anna Nordlander stepped into in 2002.  Back then, Nordlander spent all her free-time on Battle.net, struggling to keep her 36K modem signed onto the internet, battling off phone calls from unaware friends and family. "After living my days on Battle.net—chatting and playing with new people—there was no turning back. When I was 13 my brother introduced me to Counter-Strike and this was different and addictive in another way," she says. She joined her classmates playing Counter-Strike—mostly teenage boys—before they started organizing LAN events and competing as a team. "Being a girl was not a problem when I played with my classmates or other people I already knew, but online it was a different story," Nordlander says. Esports wasn’t as professional or mainstream back in the early 2000s. Tournaments weren’t being played in large arenas. There was little money involved. "You would often pay the travel yourself, or force your parents to drive you to a LAN in a small town somewhere far away. You slept on the floor and the prize pool was next to nothing." But there was DreamHack. DreamHack has been running for 25 years; it started in a Swedish school cafeteria in 1994. It operated first as a LAN party and grew from there, with tournaments and partnerships. More than anything else, it was a way for players spread across the country—and later, the world—to get together. Especially as a woman playing competitively, that was a big deal. "I was there for joining an all-female clan and in 2002, we attended our first DreamHack," she says. "DreamHack was like nothing I ever experienced before. It really was the promised land, and meeting everyone I had been playing with for so long is something that was really special.” Despite the lack of mainstream support for esports back then, the little communities built around these events were intimate, personal. Social media wasn’t a huge part of our lives. We didn’t livestream. Making connections was different, and finally meeting face-to-face was, too. "I’ll always cherish the golden age of World of Warcraft, Nordlander says. "When we did shoutouts at BlizzCon 2008, people could challenge us in WoW Arena, a lot of people would be very confident coming up to us, telling us ‘I’m from BG9, watch out.’ We didn’t drop a single game over two days and in the end, we had to give away all the prizes that people were supposed to win." (Back in the day, battlegrounds in WoW Arena were sectioned off into battle groups so that different realms could battle each other—BG9, also called US-Bloodlust, was considered one of the most competitive of the time.) Nordlander said the industry has grown dramatically since then, but the past five years have shown the most drastic changes. "Fortnite has been going more mainstream. I’ve seen grandmas flossing, and Drake, Zlatan and other more traditional celebrities playing and praising the game. From CS:GO to COO I m not afraid of going after something I want even though everyone tells you it can t be done. Anna Nordlander Now, retired from the competitive life, Nordlander has her hands in everything esports. As the COO of DreamHack, she's always on the move. It feels like there’s a new DreamHack event every week: DreamHack Summer 2019 was in June, then Valencia in July, Montreal in September. From there, it’s onto Rotterdam, Atlanta, Jönköping, and Sevilla. Sometimes she’s rolling cables to support the massive technical infrastructure necessarily in putting on events of this size. Other times she’s grabbing coffee to keep members of the team running. A lot of the time, she’s meeting with various industry people at events, and just keeping a general eye on things. "I really like to be hands-on and to learn new things," Nordlander told me shortly after DreamHack Dallas in early June. "It’s exciting to see how many interesting people are coming out to our events." The role of the COO is, naturally, in operations—coordinating departments, managing staff, and setting processes. Nordlander says the way she played games competitively helped prepare her for the job. "I think that optimizing workflows and processes to make them more efficient is something I’ve always enjoyed, but maybe in different forms. Already in the early Super Mario days, I used to play the same level over and over to perfect it." Nordlander began working with DreamHack unofficially in 2008 and 2009, organizing World of Warcraft events and covering the event for a Swedish national television channel called SVT, both behind and in front of the camera. At the same time she was working on three degrees at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm: a Bachelor of Science in interactive media, a Master of Science in human-computer interaction, and a Master of Engineering in media technology. After graduating college in 2013, she began working for a Swedish media company's esports division. In 2015, that company acquired DreamHack, as well as a large part of esports tournament organizer Turtle Entertainment, which operates ESL. Within two and a half years, she made her way from DreamHack product manager to marketing, where she built the festival series’ marketing department from scratch, to the job of COO. "I have honestly loved every minute of it, especially building my own team," Nordlander says. "I sometimes can’t believe I get to work with something I’m so passionate about, and, on top of that, at the company who opened my eyes to a whole new world back in 2002." An award ceremony at DreamHack Showdown Valencia 2019 Though DreamHack is an international event, it was born in Sweden. It’s where Nordlander was introduced to competitive esports. Sweden has a rich history in Counter-Strike; at the time of writing, Swedish players are ranked number two in the world for earnings in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, second only to Denmark. (Sweden is ranked at number one in Counter-Strike.) This is, of course, thanks in part to the country-wide infrastructure built up by DreamHack. Even at the start of esports integration in the country—when players were sleeping on the floor and winning little-to-no money—there were still compelling events that encouraged fans to compete. Nordlander says one of her favorite moments with DreamHack was a culmination of those things—her Swedish nationality and work in the esports industry. Her first project with DreamHack was DreamHack Masters Malmö 2016, and the first DreamHack event as part of the DreamHack Masters, a new series. The event was a culmination of months of qualifications, not the mention the work before that behind the scenes. Sixteen teams made it to the live event at the Malmö Arena in Sweden, among them the best of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: Natus Vincere, EnVyUs, GODSENT, Dignitas, Virtus.pro, and Ninjas in Pyjamas. For the two fully-Swedish teams, Ninjas in Pyjamas and GODSENT, home soil was an advantage—until they had to play each other in the semi-finals. Ninjas in Pyjamas prevailed with a 2-1 score, but then they had to face the Russia/Ukranian team Natus Vincere. When it came down to it, Ninjas in Pyjamas won. "Having a Swedish team winning on home soil just made everything so complete, Nordlander says. "I actually shed some tears when the Ninjas entered the stage to a roaring Swedish crowd. It was just so beautiful. We worked so hard to pull off the event, and we couldn’t have wished for a better end." From here, the rest of Nordlander’s year is busy. Again: Sweden, Spain, Canada, Canada again, Sweden, Netherlands, Georgia, Sweden, and back around to Spain. All of these events are just this year, a schedule that easily demonstrates just how much DreamHack—with the help of Nordlander and the rest of the team—has grown from a school basement in a small Swedish town. "Being a girl playing games has also taught me to handle the kind of tough environment that can occur in this male-dominated industry, Nordlander says. "I’m not afraid of going after something I want—even though everyone tells you it can’t be done."

20th Anniversary Workshop Event

20th Anniversary Workshop Event To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Counter-Strike, we would like to invite workshop contributors to create content for a themed Weapon Case and Sticker Capsule. The theme will be “Counter-Strike” itself, including all things CS-related, from the original Counter-Strike mod to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The weapon finish and sticker designs may be created in any style. We will need weapons for all tiers to complete the case, from Mil-Spec to Covert; consider this when designing your weapon finishes. All designs must be original with the exception of Counter-Strike logos or icons. To help sort these themed submissions, please tag them with "CS20" in the title of your submission to the workshop (e.g. CS20 | Finish Name). All previous submissions are eligible for the event. Just make sure to tag them so we can find them more easily. All submissions for this event must be completed and submitted to the workshop by September 19th 2019. The Weapon Case and Sticker Capsule will be released at a later date, after we have chosen which submissions will be included. All items submitted for this event will still be eligible for future releases. We have also released a new style guide to help with weapon finish creation, and hopefully answer any questions you may have about the process. The guide can be found here.

CS:GO's battle royale mode now has respawns and a ping system too

It's another day of innovation in the games industry, as the latest CS:GO update introduces respawns and a ping system to the game's battle royale mode. Update Sirocco brings some major changes to servers, and along with introducing a new desert-themed map (of the same name) it's adding a few mechanics which are becoming rather common in the battle royale genre. The new respawn system will allow players to resurrect "anywhere in the map" providing their squad survives. Players will have the option to either resurrect where they died or pick a new starting spot. To be fair to CS:GO, this respawn system seems a little different to the one used by Apex Legends - and then Fortnite - which requires squadmates to pick up their teammates' banner and carry it to a respawn beacon. If anything this sounds more like Call of Duty's Down But Not Out mode for Blackout, which similarly just requires squadmates to remain alive before allowing respawns (albeit with each new circle). Read more

The Native American Quinault Nation has filed a lawsuit against Valve over gambling

The Native American Quinault Nation in the state of Washington has filed a lawsuit against Valve, stating that it "does not have a license to operate, facilitate or otherwise engage in any form of gambling." While the Quinault Nation operates its own casino in Washington which is subject to heavy regulations from state and local government, its lawsuit alleges that Valve, which is also Washington-based, has an unfair advantage. The focus of the lawsuit appears to be CS:GO skins, which led to the Washington State Gambling Commission ordering Valve to halt the 'gambling' of skins through Steam, back in 2016. At the time, a Valve spokesperson made it clear that using Steam to run a gambling business "is not allowed by our API nor our user agreements," and that it had sent cease and desist letters to over 40 websites. Another lawsuit against Valve over gambling was rejected back in October 2016. This lawsuit, stamped April 3rd, alleges that Valve is "well aware of the skins gambling that goes on, is well aware that skins have real world cash value, which has increased their popularity and value, and actively encourages and facilitates skins gambling." The lawsuit is more than 20 pages long. You can read the details here on Scribd (via Geekwire.com). Under the section marked 'Declaratory Relief', the lawsuit says the following. "Quinault therefore seeks immediate injunctive and equitable relief to force Valve to stop offering the crate opening online slot machine game, to stop offering the crate opening online slot machine game until the Washington Gaming Commission can examine it to determine if it requires a license, to suspend and/or eliminate one-way trades to take Skins gambling websites' main source of Skins transfers from occurring, and to take other steps as ordered by this Court to prevent ongoing hard to Quinault and the citizens of Washington from illegal online gambling." The section marked 'Prayer for relief' then mentions "restitution to Plaintiff of all monies wrongfully obtained by Defendant". We've reached out to Valve for comment and will update if we get a response.

Update to Workshop Submission Process

With today’s Steam update, we’re making a change to the Workshop submission process to address fake item scams. First-time submissions to the CS:GO workshop will now require email verification before the item can be listed publicly. For those of you that have previously submitted Workshop items, you shouldn't see any change in functionality. Background What do we mean by fake item scams? If you browse the Workshop enough, you may have come across an item with an image of a rare skin, promising giveaways or free content. These items often contain phishing links that are used to compromise Steam accounts. Update to Workshop Submission Process In the past, our moderation team would review Workshop items reported by players. Fake item scams would then be deleted and our team would reach out to the owner of the account and let them know that their account is likely compromised. The problem with this approach was that some items went unreported for quite a while, allowing them to appear to players and get in the way of real submissions. New Process With today's update, Steam will send an email to the account owner when a new item is posted for the first time, asking them to review and confirm the item they just posted. If an item was posted without their knowledge, this email provides an easy path to recover the account and change their password. Our aim with this change is to reduce the potential for scams on the Steam platform, without creating unnecessary hassle for frequent Workshop creators. Let us know if you have feedback.

How Brazil fell in love with Counter-Strike

MIBR in a group huddle. Photo by Bart Oerbekke MIBR were dressed in their electric yellow synthetic jerseys every time I saw them at IEM Katowice. Even if this was your first Counter-Strike tournament, even if you were walking into an esports hall completely blind to the culture, the national allegiance of the six young men on stage was aggressively clear. On the Brazilian flag, that yellow symbolizes wealth; it lit up the uniforms the Brazilian soccer team wore during each of their five World Cup titles, too. Last year, when this team switched parent companies from SK Gaming to Immortals, they resurrected a familiar name: MIBR, Made in Brazil, sheathed in the same colors that have delivered glory to their countrymen so many times before. We want to represent our country, we want to make our country proud of us. Marcelo David According to Marcelo "Coldzera" David, a player who at times has been the best Counter-Strike marksman in the world, that christening was a no brainer. "We create a brand for Brazil. That's why we brought back MIBR, we want to represent our country, we want to make our country proud of us," he says. "To create a legacy. A Brazilian legacy." The first teams fielded under the MIBR name date all the way back to 2003, during the Counter Strike 1.6 days, a time when esports was still largely underground and punk rock. As a nation, Brazil was in the halcyon stages of an economic boom, and its citizenry was falling in love with first-person shooters. "Since I was young Counter-Strike was always in the LAN houses. It was a game that didn't require an extremely good computer at the time," says Augusto César, a fan swaddled in a Brazilian flag, in the IEM Katowice food court. "For us it was a very simple game to play." Two decades later, the country fields one of the best CS:GO squads in the world. The modern incarnation of MIBR captured a major title last year at the ZOTAC Cup, and five premieres and an additional major in 2017, under the SK banner. They represent a glacial power shift in the fabric of esports. Scroll through the attending teams at Katowice, and you'll see that between the Americans, the Ukrainians, and the French, MIBR is the only organization representing South America.  Coldzera playing at IEM Katowice. Photo by Jennika Ojala. You could feel it in the air. MIBR's success is an exception to the global rule. The fans know it, the scene knows it, and it summons up a one-of-a-kind passion. Katowice is a dinky Polish mining town at the southern end of the country, and the Spodek Arena is a communist-era UFO-like relic built in 1971 that serves hockey games and B-list festivals. Still, miraculously, the Brazilians showed up in droves for the boys. They dotted the seats and the outer hallways, and most, like César, brought with them their national colors. That makes sense; if MIBR is going to wear a patriotic yellow, then it behooves their supporters to follow suit. But their loyalty took on a different texture than any of the other esports organizations at IEM. Sure, the Danes root for the Danish wunderkinds in Astralis, and it was genuinely heartwarming to see the underdog Finns in ENCE make a deliriously joyful run to the finals, but MIBR are the only ones to literally emblazon what they're fighting for in their name. Brazilians hear that call no matter where they are. "I didn't play Counter-Strike for a while, I wasn't interested in it until Brazil started to get big. Like, 'Oh, Brazilians are really nice at this game, I need to play it too,'" continues César. "It's what got me into esports. Brazilian teams succeeding. I think most Brazilians are like that." One of the things I love most about sports—the local, tribal pride, and its corresponding politics—has always been de-emphasized in competitive gaming. The Overwatch League's home cities may be slowly changing that. Generally, teams take their identity from an overarching brand or sponsor—we pull for our favorites the way 14-year olds pull for LeBron, regardless of what team he's currently playing for. But MIBR is a different beast. The kinship is closer because of the sheer rarity of other Brazilian role-models in pop culture. Since 2016 the majority of the headlines coming out of the country have focused on either a beleaguered Olympics bid, a troubling presidential election, or mounting corruption scandals, but when Neymar Jr. joins Coldzera on Dust II, all of that fades away. Photo by Bart Oerbekke. We're always named as a third-world country, that we don't have any potential, so anyone who can change that misconception, in any sport, it's very important to us. Rodrigo Guerra "Brazilians like to cheer for Brazilians that could win. It happens in soccer and basketball, when we have a chance to win a trophy, Brazilian blood heats up. One thing we miss in Brazil is someone who can represent us and show our good side," explains Rodrigo Guerra, a journalist who covers MIBR for ESPN Brazil. "A few decades back we had a famous driver, Ayrton Senna, and everyone woke up at four in the morning to cheer him. Because he's carrying our flag, he's showing how we can be one of the best. We're always named as a third-world country, that we don't have any potential, so anyone who can change that misconception, in any sport, it's very important to us." I was left with one lingering question at Katowice: Why Counter-Strike? What is it about this game in particular that's found such a home in Brazil? Sure, you can catch a few stray Brazilian squads in DOTA, and fighting games represent one of the true international scenes on the planet, but when you look at League, or Overwatch, or StarCraft, you rarely find much star power outside of the European and East Asian strongholds. I'm not the only one who's noticed that, either. "Since the beginning of esports in Brazil, everyone was playing Counter-Strike," says Guerra. "StarCraft, or League of Legends, it's not natural to us." Everyone I posed that question to returned to the same core point. Counter-Strike was, and is, a fixture of the LAN cafe scene in Brazil, and its resonance in the games culture grew out from there. It just stuck. It's an answer that's about as arcane as anything else in the esports industry. I mean, why do South Koreans excel at StarCraft? A variety of historical accidents, that eventually coalesced into a national heritage and sense of ownership. This isn't an exact science. Coldzera, at least, is able to take a unique perspective, since he admits to me that he does keep a League of Legends habit during off-hours. "League and Dota are amazing games, but the difference between our sport and them is that they're more mechanical," he says. "In Counter-Strike, you have to factor in the randomness. You can kill someone blind, you can spray and kill one more. That's why the game is so great. Things can be going really good, and it can be destroyed in one round. It gives you adrenaline. That's why I think Counter-Strike is the best game ever."  Coldzera tells me he hears a lot of the same stories from people like César; Brazilians who loved video games, and loved their country, and were brought into the fold by the team's collective excellence. Coldzera himself has a great respect for the first incarnation of MIBR. Today, casters have even coined a term for the team's deliberate, slow-paced gameplay. "The Brazilian Style." You know you've made it when you're part of an institution. MIBR lost in the semi-finals to Astralis, the eventual champions. When you look over the roster, you begin to see the glimmer of change on the horizon. Coldzera is 24, and both team captain Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo and Fernando "fer" Alvarenga will be 28 at the end of the year. They are still young by every conceivable measure except for esports, and while Counter-Strike is generally more friendly to the stringent burnout problems compared to other games, eventually a new generation of Brazilians will need to take up the banner. It's a hope that MIBR welcomes with open arms. None of these players would ever give up their spot without a fight, but throughout the weekend, I noticed that they displayed a remarkable solidarity with FURIA, another Brazilian Counter-Strike team who made it into the qualifying Challengers bracket. ( #DiaDeFuria , they tweeted, just before Valentine's Day, during one of their first matches of the tournament.) Furia showed well, but didn't finish with enough wins to move on to the next level where they may have had a date with MIBR.  "They just need more experience. They have a long road, but they're on the right road," says Coldzera. "It's nice to see a new face for Brazil. … It's crazy to see how they every tournament." Given that MIBR is the effective stand-in for Brazil's national team, I asked Coldzera what it'd be like to someday go against a Brazilian team in a major tournament—to have the throne challenged by someone in their backyard. As much as he cares for the future of his country's Counter-Strike scene, would it feel any different when he was staring that future in its eyes? "That's gonna be nice," he laughs. "Brazil wins, no matter who wins."

The unlikely origin of Counter-Strike surfing

In my younger and more vulnerable years, I spent a lot of time getting shot in the head in Counter-Strike: Source. While there were many factors working against me - my age, my characteristic lack of dexterity, my (for the time) toaster-level PC, and my bargain-bin 200 DPI Dell laser mouse - I never let these disadvantages stop me from padding some lucky player's K/D ratio with my ill-fated MAC-10 rushes. When I would search through the list of servers for players of a similar skill level, I would come across a panoply of fan-made mods and maps intended to offer a respite from the endless dual grind of de_dust and cs_office, and I would occasionally take the plunge and sully my dad's hard-drive with these bizarre creations. Of these offerings, the most consistently-populated servers were always devoted to the act of "surfing," a fact that boggled my pre-teen mind. When I would connect, I would see long, sloped ramps to nowhere, curling and twisting through empty space towards an unknown destination. While my opponents seemed to slide across the slope with ease, I would hurtle into the abyss every single time. No matter how loudly I pleaded with my fellow surfers to explain the trick, they would hurl obscenities at me and tell me to use F10 to deploy parachute - a button which would, in fact, abort the game. (To be fair, it was pretty funny the first time.) Later in life, I eventually figured out that holding a movement key against the slope allowed you to stick to the path, and I embraced surfing and other such "trickjumping" as a fun palate-cleanser at the end of a long night of gaming. Charlie "Mariowned" Joyce is the apparent inventor of the first surf map for Counter-Strike 1.6. Joyce confided this in AskReddit thread where people revealed their "greatest accomplishment" that they can't bring up in normal conversation, and he was immediately mobbed by fans of his work, and surfing in general. "It was pretty overwhelming," he tells me. "I thought I'd just get a couple of people saying, 'hey, I remember surfing, that's cool.' Or maybe, best-case scenario, reconnecting with an old buddy. But it was way, way more than that." Read more

Valve doled out nearly six months' worth of bans after CS:GO went free to play

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive had one of its best ever months after going free to play, and a record number of VAC bans were doled out on Steam as a consequence. Over 600,000 accounts received VAC bans in December, with the first wave of bans happening days after CS:GO shed its price.  Spotted by Nors3 on Twitter, five waves crushed naughty players throughout the month. Hundreds of games use Valve’s anti-cheat system, which ostensibly (if not always in reality) detects cheats and automatically bans the account in question from playing on VAC protected servers, but after CS:GO went free to play, the number of bans sky-rocketed.  In November, only 103,743 accounts were banned, according to SteamDB. That’s around six times fewer than December, and it was a pretty standard month. The number of bans in a month has never broken 200,000 in 15 years, so it’s a significant leap to get past 600,000. The move to free to play and the addition of a battle royale mode drew the ire of some existing players, who then review-bombed the game. Things have settled down since the initial reaction, however, with recent positive reviews outweighing the negative ones.  Cheers, PCGamesN.

CS:GO had one of its best ever months after going free to play

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, having opened the floodgates by shedding its price and introducing a battle royale mode at the end of last year, has seen quite the bump in players.   On Twitter, CS:GO sleuth Nors3 reports that 20,535,709 unique players duked it out in December, twice the number of players the game boasted in the previous month. Popping over to SteamCharts and SteamDB we can see the average and peak player numbers. On December 7, CS:GO shed its initial price and added the Danger Zone battle royale mode, causing a significant spike on the graphs.  SteamCharts recorded an average player count of 395,509 during December with a peak of 746,548. November had 310,085 and 546,031. This does not, however, beat its record for concurrent players, which is over 850,000. Certainly, though, it’s a big increase over the rest of the year, where CS:GO frequently averaged less than 300,000 concurrent players.  A lot of people might be playing CS:GO right now, but they certainly weren’t happy when Valve announced the changes. CS:GO received 14,000 negative Steam reviews in a single day after going free-to-play, and they kept rolling in. Many players were frustrated because they’d already invested money into the game, and the gift of a loyalty badge didn’t make them much happier.  7,000 positive reviews were also written, however, so there were plenty of optimistic players, too. It’s also worth noting that after the dust settled, around a week after going free-to-play, the new positive reviews started outweighing the new negative reviews again.   In the short term, it seems to have worked out, but a single month isn’t much to go on. Did any of you lot take CS:GO for a spin because it went free-to-play? Let us know if you’re going to be sticking around in the comments.  Cheers, PCGamesN

Here's what happened when we tried to bet on esports at our local bookies

We have an odd relationship with gambling in the UK. You'd be hard-pressed to find a high street or city centre that doesn't have at least a couple of bookmakers' shops mixed into it, offering bets on everything from horse racing and football to whether or not Kate Winslet will cry if she wins an Oscar (yes that was a real thing). But how does esports fit in? According to a recent study by the UK's Gambling Commission, the percentage of British adults who have at some point in their lives placed a bet on esports is 8.5 per cent, with three per cent having placed those bets in the month the study was conducted. That's a surprising statistic for a sport many consider to be still quite niche. And it makes sense most of those bets will be online, given the nature of esports and the audience for it. But it also got me wondering: just how easy it is to walk into a betting shop and wager some cash on an esports event? To find out, I picked three (at the time of betting) upcoming and current events to bet on, with the intention of gambling on three specific teams to win either the tournament or a particular match. These were Team Liquid to win the ESL One Dota 2 tournament, Ninjas in Pyjamas to win that day's ECS CS:GO season six game, and for the Overwatch World Cup, I had to back the home nation and bet on the UK. Secondly, I decided I had to be able to place the bet in store. We all know you can bet on esports online, so that didn't count. Read more…

Turns out the CS:GO Portal message is an Easter egg, not an ARG

CS:GO went three to play and got a battle royale mode last week - but the surprises didn't end there, as players discovered a cryptic message which some speculated was an ARG to tease Portal 3. Despite the best efforts of CS:GO sleuths, however, Valve has since confirmed this is actually just an Easter egg - although it's still a pretty neat discovery. The fun and games began when YouTube user snaileny posted a video of a "strange broadcast" they'd found on the new battle royale map dz_blacksite. According to snaileny, to hear this you have to stand in Room 3 for over two minutes before the (slightly creepy) message begins to play. Players figured out the beginning of the list is in the NATO phonetic alphabet, and translates to PGPW50 SMS757 - the first half of which refers to the PGP word list (an extended biometric word list designed to prevent wiretapping). The transmission, when converted into the PGP word list, gives you 50 pairs of numbers and letters. Reddit user GetSomeGyros then figured out that the "SMS7" part of the message, meanwhile, refers to GSM 7-bit encoding: and when you put PGP pairings into this, you " target="_blank">get the following message: Read more…

Welcome to the Danger Zone

Welcome to the Danger Zone Introducing Danger Zone — a fast-paced battle royale game mode built on CS:GO’s tactical gameplay where players use their wits, skill, and resources to fight to the finish. Play solo, or work together as a squad of two or three! CS:GO is now FREE TO PLAY So there’s never been a better time to bring in your friends. All players who played CS:GO before today’s update will receive a commemorative Loyalty Badge they can display on their profile. You were there from the beginning, so show it off! Additionally, all existing CS:GO players have had their accounts upgraded to Prime Status. As before, Prime Status matches you with other Prime Status players. Additionally, your Prime Status will give you access to the new Souvenir MP5-SD | Lab Rats (available by earning XP while playing Danger Zone matches) and the all new Danger Zone Case. Danger Zone Case The Danger Zone Case features 17 community-designed weapon finishes, and the Horizon knives as rare special items. Click here for more details. A new game mode, a new case, and CS:GO is free. What are you waiting for? GO! GO! GO!

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gets Battle Royale mode, goes free-to-play

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valve's ageing but unceasingly popular online first-person shooter, is now free-to-play. But not only that! It's also just introduced a new Battle Royale mode called Danger Zone. This isn't Counter-Strike's first dalliance with free-to-play, of course; Valve launched of free edition of the game back in September, although that version only permitted players to go up against bots - the whole enterprise being intended as a means for newcomers to familiarise themselves with Counter-Strike's weapons and maps. Valve's new free-to-play release, however, is the real deal, and provides free access to the entire Counter-Strike: Global Offensive experience, multiplayer and all. Read more…

Now Free To Play on Steam - Counter-Strike: Global Offensive!

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is Now Free To Play on Steam! Introducing Danger Zone — a fast-paced battle royale game mode built on CS:GO’s tactical gameplay where players use their wits, skill, and resources to fight to the finish. Play solo, or work together as a squad of two or three! CS:GO is now FREE TO PLAY So there’s never been a better time to bring in your friends.

CS:GO goes Battle Royale and free to play

Valve just announced Danger Zone, "a fast-paced battle royale game mode built on CS:GO's tactical gameplay where players use their wits, skill, and resources to fight to the finish." Additionally, CS:GO itself is now free to play. The mode accommodates 16 players in singles, and 18 players in duos or triples. Danger Zone features the same weapon behavior and damage as conventional CS:GO, Valve says. Like CS:GO, the matches are short, lasting about 10 minutes. It makes many other changes to CS:GO's systems: * Each player carries an upgradeable special tablet device (on Tab) for tracking other players and accessing a limited buy menu; * You start with just a knife—aerial delivery drones ferry purchased weapons and equipment directly to your position; * Each player publicly claims a landing zone before rappelling into the match; * Cash can be found in the environment and you can also bring hostages to rescue zones; * There's currently one map, called Blacksite - it's small by Battle Royale standards, but big for Counter-Strike ; * The map is divided into hexagonal zones, which are randomly, occasionally bombarded by an airstrike; * Ammo is scarce: even purchased weapons are handed to you with almost no ammo in them; * Your weapon skins from the base game are carried into Danger Zone; From the round I've played so far, it's weird to see a bunch of old weapons and new ideas thrown together into the same pot. Some of the engagement ranges on the single map, Blacksite, are absolutely enormous by CS standards. Grabbing wads off cash off of the ground (or in locked safes that you have to destroy with C4) feels out of place so far. CS:GO does have its exclusively first-person perspective going for it, at least. Meanwhile, in all modes of CS:GO, players will now be separated into two matchmaking groups: Prime and non-prime. If you already owned CS:GO, you're a Prime player. "When you have Prime Status you are matched with other players who also have Prime Status, and Prime users are eligible for Prime-exclusive souvenir items, item drops, and weapon cases." Danger Zone arrives, of course, with 17 new seasonal weapon skins. CS:GO going free-to-play signifies, in part, that Valve is confident in the game's current anticheat solution, delivered through a Valve-built machine learning system called VACnet. As far as I can tell, any banned CS:GO player could join the game through a new Steam account, but would not be matched with other Prime players. It's unclear how CS:GO matchmakes mixed parties of Prime and free players.

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