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The immense growth of CS:GO opens up new possibilities for the audience
() 01:43 PM EDT - Aug,25 2017

The growing popularity of eSports is one that has polarised opinions. Some snort at the idea of competitive gaming being considered a sport. However, it is not so long ago that the same was being said about pursuits such as pool or darts — sports that now attract huge sponsorship, fanbases and TV coverage.

To dismiss eSports out of hand is to ignore what an important part of life gaming has become for millennials and even older generations. For anyone who grew up in the 1980s or afterwards, it is a pastime that is as natural as watching TV or picking up a book.

It also ticks all the boxes in terms of what a sport is all about. To excel at games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive requires high levels of skill, concentration, coordination, practice and dedication. It is an activity where the enjoyment stems from pitching yourself against the best opposition and coming out on top. And perhaps most importantly, it is a platform where enthusiasts can take pleasure and inspiration from watching the best of the best perform.

What is CS:GO?

In case you have spent the past few years living in a cave, we should say a few words about CS:GO. At first glance, you might be forgiven for thinking it is just another multiplayer shooter game. Perfectly competent, but nothing groundbreaking. Yet this game is the one that could have a more profound effect on the industry than anything that came before, as it is the one game that has really taken the eSports world by storm and launched it into the public consciousness.

The game is played by two teams of five. The backstory involves a terrorist plot to plant a bomb, and so we are immediately embedded in the classic narrative archetype of the good guys versus the bad guys. The terrorist team is trying to plant the bomb, cause carnage and kill the counter terrorists. The good guys, on the other hand, are doing their best to prevent the explosion while using lethal force to neutralise the terrorist threat.

Like any team sport, each member has their specific role to play, whether it is defending a base, distracting the opposition, going out all guns blazing or coordinating the action

A growing industry

CS:GO is not the only game that is played competitively in the eSports arena, but it is certainly the most high-profile. It takes pride of place in the annual World Championships, and events are covered by live streams online and some sports channels.

It also fulfils another important function of any genuine sport — that of generating its own brand of sporting heroes, who are garnering an ever-growing fanbase.

This popularity is one that has been quickly and expertly perceived and acted upon by the bookmakers. They know that where there is a sport, there are enthusiasts who are willing to place a wager on the outcome. As a consequence, there are both conventional sports betting sites who are adding eSports to their portfolio and a growing choice of specialist CS:GO betting sites, where enthusiasts can check the latest odds and place a variety of bets online.

Like most styles of sports betting, different sites offer a range of bets. It is particularly useful to know that they also provide general betting tips for anyone who is inexperienced and could otherwise feel overwhelmed by the process or terminology.

Where next?

Every year, the eSports scene garners a more dedicated following than the last. Famous names, including legendary NFL quarterback Joe Montana, have got involved in the last year, reportedly investing millions in personal wealth into the major eSports teams and leagues.

The result is plain to see. As each year goes by, the World Championship gets bigger and better, the prize pot grows and the coverage increases. This year’s grand finale will take place in South Korea, seen by many as the birthplace of eSports, in the city of Busan. There is not a shadow of a doubt it will be the most high-profile eSports event yet.

The potential for growth is something that is almost beyond the imagination. Nasdaq predicts that eSports will be the next billion dollar industry, but that could be just the start.

At present, eSports is focused on Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games in general and CS:GO in particular. But we all know that games come in a broad spectrum of genres, from platforms to sports to role play to driving. As the eSports phenomenon grows, it seems almost inevitable that it will branch out into these wider areas. It is no exaggeration to say that the sky is the limit for the potentialities of eSports. No doubt about it, there are exciting times ahead for gamers, gamblers and audiences alike.

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