Why is CS:GO So Popular on Steam?

According to SteamSpy, massively popular first-person shooter Counter Strike: Global Offensive has claimed its place as the top selling PC game of all time after shipping out over 25 million copies since its release in August of 2012.


It’s difficult to stake that claim, considering the competition from the likes of Minecraft, though it can’t be argued that CS:GO is an absolute giant of a game, and is one of the biggest sellers in recent memory.


What makes it so popular? How does such a simple game in principle, becoming one of the top selling PC games of all time?


Here, we’ll wax lyrical about CS:GO, and look into precisely how it has managed to sell so many copies.

Top selling Steam game Counter Strike Global Offensive


1. Accessibility

One of the initial areas that comes to mind is accessibility. In terms of price, it clocks in at £11.99, which is $14.99 for those over the pond.


This is a bit of a sweet spot in terms of game prices, considering that Rocket League – one of the biggest sellers over the past year or two – is similarly priced. If you want to pick up one of the big FPS games, like Call of Duty, you’re looking at closer to £30-40.


Accessibility is also a massive point when it comes to PC gaming, though this time regarding the specs required.


While you’ll see a lot of people running these incredible custom-built PCs which can run any game on max settings – CS:GO doesn’t necessarily need that. The game can run well on so many different PCs, making it far more accessible to a wider range of people.


2. E-Sports Scene

One of the bigger revelations in gaming over the past few years has been the explosion of competitive gaming and e-sports. People who become experts at the game to the point where they can play on stage in front of tens of thousands of people, with a massive amount also watching at home through live streaming websites. There are fully branded teams with players who become the subject of contract negotiations and transfers, like we’re talking about Premier League footballers.


Events which are held for CS:GO are massive when it comes to branding and building interest in the game, especially when they’re streamed on services like Twitch where a massive amount of people get to see this incredibly polished presentation of the game.


Just recently, an event was held which brought in well over a million concurrent viewers on Twitch alone. The event was also shown on other streaming services, and even a US TV channel. It’s easy to see how a game can bring in a new fan base when it has televised events.


Personally, I got into the game a whole lot more after seeing a few live streams which really showcased the game at the top level, and they really get you hooked into how good the game can be.


3. Skin Customisation

Customisation is an important part of games and their longevity. If a game doesn’t change through its lifespan, it can become somewhat stagnant, with players wanting the chance to make changes and customise their in-game options, without massively affecting the gameplay.


This is something that CS:GO offers, in the form of in-game skins. No customisations are available for the guns and specifically how they work, though you can change the skin that appears on them. If you’ve seen one of the aforementioned live streams, or a Youtube video of CS:GO, you may well have seen plenty of these skins.


It doesn’t necessarily sound like a big deal, but it’s a massive part of CS:GO and the community as a whole.


There are entire markets based around these skins, and it’s a part of the overall appeal for a lot of people. They’re traded between players, and even bought/sold between players, with some skins going for triple, or even quadruple digits.


4. Mods

On a similar note, one of the more interesting things with PC gaming is that a lot of games have potential for mods. These are simply modifications, where the game can be changed in certain ways in order to create completely new environments for the player.


This allows for an almost endless stream of additional content, being made by the players themselves, which is a really appealing feature for a lot of people.


Mods generally come in the form of maps, where the user has uploaded their own map, which is interacted with in a different way to regular maps in the game.


There are options for classic maps from older versions of Counter Strike (as well as versions of maps from other games such as Call of Duty), special interactions such as “surfing”, as well as options to test out your aim on hapless bots/aiming targets.


The Steam Marketplace facilitates a lot of these mods, and makes it very easy for any user to have an incredible amount of fresh content readily available to them.


5. Longevity and Nostalgia

Another reason behind the popularity of CS:GO is that it’s another instalment in a storied line of games. Unlike games like Overwatch and the aforementioned Rocket League, CS:GO has a big history behind it, with there being several iterations of Counter Strike that have spanned over nearly two decades – keeping the interests of those who were around from the beginning.


The original was simply named Counter Strike – originally a mod for Half-Life – and was officially released under the Valve banner in 2000. It’s still played to this day, known as “1.6” – its final patch name.


The other big name in the series is Counter Strike: Source, the predecessor to CS:GO. So many people played – and still play – these versions of the game, with many of them sticking with the series though its latest expansion in the form of CS:GO, seeing Counter Strike holds a special place in the earlier gaming memories of many people.


I’m a bit like that, but with Guitar Hero, due to how long I’ve played the series; always picking up the latest expansions. Apart from Guitar Hero: Live – that wasn’t worth it.

What do you enjoy the most about CS:GO, and Counter Strike in general? Let us know!

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