I’ve never really been that bothered about the pro scene in Counter Strike.

When i was actually semi decent at the game – still very average – i didn’t watch any streams on Counter Strike Source. I thought the idea of watching games was extremely boring. ‘I want to play games not watch them’ – i thought to myself, how can i get better or enjoy it if i’m not playing?

What was i thinking?

In fairness though, the great angles, the excellent casting, the live crowds, the smooth sounds levels, the professional streams – was something which wasn’t the norm. In fact it was once every month a tournament would happen which would not be overly great for public viewing.

This was in 2004. Skip 10 years to 2014 and it is a whole different world. Twitch.tv is dominating the viewing stats, and people are loving every single second of gaming footage they watch. In the world of first person shooters, it’s always been hard to follow a team based fps game on the basis that it’s actually quite boring. Add a gambling aspect in csgolounge.com and well.. it is boring no more. You can make money (all be it in steam, not hard cash – but still can be used to buy real games so i guess for gamers there isn’t really a difference) making you feel the excitement, the rush of every single frag.

I’m torn really. Is this good for the scene? – Overwhelmingly yes, anything which gives the game i love more views, more recognition is a win in my book. The problem with all of this is – where do we go from here? I saw this in Starcraft, and unfortunately that scene is pretty much dead now, it reached such a high but crashed miserably.

Yes it’s great that CS:GO is the main game in the fps world in terms of watch ability. You have players like JW for team Fanatic with the most incredible AWP skills in the game. Then you have the extremely strong french team LDLC. some extremely good teams out there as well however, Hell Raisers, my favourite team Dignitas, Na Vi, Virtus Pro, this is adding to the watch ability also. I am watching the big tournaments which are coming around. As i type this LDLC have just beaten Na Vi to face team Fanatic in the final of the Electronic Sport World Cup final after winning 16-14. It’s these close rounds, these highly competitive games, on extremely balanced maps which are making fans come back for more and more.

Let’s be fair, if every game was 16-3 and extremely one sided, nobody would be watching – unless they were putting it on to fall asleep to. It’s fortunate we are blessed with the talent pool we have at the moment. Long may it continue, however i am cautiously optimistic as i know the gaming world can be pretty fickle when it comes to what’s the hot game and what isn’t. But if my CS:S days tell me anything, it’s that it has an extremely loyal core fan base, and a great game which still pulls people in. 5v5 shooting for 3 minute rounds may sound boring – but it couldn’t be better. Just ask 200,000 live viewers.

– Josh. (cLn.Raiden^) 

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