Counter-Strike 1.6 in dire straits, again
On Thursday we learned that Counter-Strike 1.6 was dropped from the main title list of the predominantly European tournament series; Intel Extreme Masters. The game featured in the inaugural IEM Season 1, and although it remains one of the more popular competitive gaming titles in Europe, their decision to drop it was due to the global decline of CS 1.6.
Michel “Carmac” Blicharz, Director of Pro Gaming at the organisation who sanctions the IEM series, announced the basis of their decision:
“For a truly global project like ours, with events on four different continents and many different countries, we require game titles with professional players and teams from all corners of the world. In the recent years of Counter-Strike 1.6, the game has retained its status of a top professional game in Europe but declined in other parts of the world. This was evident at our events outside of Europe.
With this as the basis, we have decided to take Counter-Strike off the main titles list. This means that if CS 1.6 will be featured at an event, it will only be for certain events where it is a perfect fit for the Intel Extreme Masters locally.”
With the once European vanguard now weakening its support for Counter-Strike 1.6, the game is once again in dire straits. While Australians have known this to be true for the past 5 years, or even longer, news of IEM’s decision will surely reverberate across the globe. Professional teams who saw the IEM as an opportunity to promote their organisation to the venue’s business-centric platform in Cebit would now find it hard to justify supporting a CS 1.6 squad. Further, the question of whether other E-Sport organisations such as the World Cyber Games will follow suit and drop CS 1.6 is yet to be seen, although rumours have circulated.
This speaks to both the global and support factors that govern competitive gaming, with CS 1.6 fast becoming a causality of a world’s feigning interest in a game that has been without developer support for nearly a decade. However, Counter-Strike may still live on through its successors in Source and the soon to be released Global Offensive; I stress on ‘may’, because it is becoming increasingly evident that FPS games in general are struggling to compete with other team-work orientated platform. The broader spectator appeal afforded through MOBA games like League of Legends and DOTA 2 is only strengthened by their respective game developer’s, in Riot and Steam, supporting their growth with tournaments that herald millions in prize money.
While I personally doubt Steam, or Hidden Path, would roll out a tournament schedule as part of a marketing campaign for Global Offensive, I know that we Pantheon will draw on the community’s response to the game in establishing our own events, tournaments and leagues. In the meantime, here’s looking back at 6 seasons of CS 1.6 at IEM: