Counter Strike Global Offensive has been available to play in China since a long time. However Valve did not directly support the game and it’s players from the region. Considering China is one of the biggest esports markets in the world ( in a multitude of games), this decision is definitely something that Valve should have implemented long ago.
Perfect World announces agreement with Valve.
Perfect World announced on the 28th of July, 2016 that it has reached an agreement with Valve to introduce CS GO in China. CS GO was already playable in China, but Valve did not have direct servers in China. This prompted several players to play on third party servers which were not geographically suited for Chinese players. 5E was one of the most popular servers from the region.
“Perfect World will spare no effort to promote CS:GO in China and further optimize the player’s gaming experience.
We will continue to strengthen the competitive nature of the game. Together with Valve’s research and development capabilities, we are certain that we will make CS:GO a great success in the country.”
Perfect World president Zhang Yunfan.
This announcement coincided with the announcement of several tournaments for the Chinese region. With growing interest in the FPS game, many big esports organisations looked to invest in a growing community and business opportunity.
CS GO will compete with CrossFire
CrossFire is an online tactical first-person shooter by South Korean developer SmileGate. CrossFire was the world’s top grossing game in 2014 ($1.3 billion). That is a huge number considering the exchange rate and the popularity of some other esports titles over the world. There will even be a movie based on the game releasing in the near future.
CrossFire has already established itself as one of the leading games in Chinese FPS scene. It’s popularity in the region proves yet again the interest of the Chinese population in FPS games. CrossFire filled the void left between low supply and a rising demand for quality FPS games in the region. It’s success is partly due to lack of competition by any recognisable developers.
Previously we had CS Online as a part of the Chinese FPS scene. That particular game was also successful in it’s own way. Multiple instances have proven time and again that there is a big interest for such type of games from the region.
China is a Big untapped market
China is the biggest esports market in the world. Esports has developed in China in a major way and is listed as one of the 99 official sports in the country. The 2008 Olympics saw China feature celebrity Warcraft III player Zhang Xiangling as the official torch-bearer. It was the government’s way of showing solidarity and support for esports.
By 2016, China has overtaken USA as the biggest esports market. With an annual revenue of $22.23 billion, China does not show any signs of stopping. There are an estimated 100 million esports fans in the world’s most populous country.
The biggest change in the esports market is the level of acceptance that esports has gained in China. While most of the 1990ś saw Chinese players playing the game casually and as a hobby , the last decade has seen the rise of esports as a prominent career and opportunity. .The Internet and online gaming have been viewed as electronic heroin. Ofcourse as more people starting playing online games and making a career out of it, esports has gained widespread acceptance in the Chinese culture.
CS GO will have strong security features in China
Counter Strike Global Offensive has always been plagued by cheating and hacking accusations. We have seen several types of spinbots and wallhacks in the game even at the highest levels. This spoils the gaming experience for the other 9 players and causes a lot of distress amongst the community.
The very nature of the relationship between hackers and anti-cheats means that any anti-cheat will always be at a disadvantage. While Game developers might add a new firewall or a new way to detect a hack, it will not be long before the cheat producers will be able to navigate their way around those firewalls. It is a constant tug of war between the two parties involved and anti-cheats inherently have to play catch-up.
We do have third-party anti-cheats such as ESEA, FaceIT who have been regularly updating their anti-cheats in order to try to stay on par with the innumerable new cheats coming up every day. However the official matchmaking system has always been falling behind and has seen a plethora of hacks and cheats being implemented and used in the game.
The Chinese version of CS GO will implement a new way of trying to ban cheat users. Instead of trying to stay ahead of cheat developers, Valve will be trying to hold cheat users accountable for their usage.
Chinese CS GO will be linked to Alipay
Alipay is a third party payment platform in China. Launched by the Alibaba group, Alipay forms the biggest payment platform in China with over 400 million registered users. CS GO in China will be linked to a Alipay account.
Alipay accounts are linked with government issued ID´s. That means the accounts are limited to one per user. This system helps to identify the persons associated with the gaming accounts.
Any person found to be associated with hacking or illegal gaming activities will have his Alipay CS GO account banned. The ban will be associated with his PIN ( Personal Identification Number) and his phone number. It will also lower the users Alipay rating. This will severely affect his rating with making real life financial transactions using Alipay.
Disclaimer : Alipay is not a Social Security Number. Having your Alipay account / rating lowered will not result in having your credit rating for all banks lowered.
Valve has plans to curb cheating in CS GO
Linking the Chinese CS GO accounts to Alipay forms an almost foolproof way of ensuring that cheaters in Chinese CS GO will be minimised. the ratings being lowered relies heavily on cheaters actually being caught, but the severe lifetime punishment is harsh enough to deter any potential hackers.
This system is difficult to implement internationally. It is mainly due to the ´international market´ being extremely vast and diverse. There is no single financial / other service which can affect a huge number of players from diverse countries and backgrounds.
Valve has however mentioned that they have plans to curb cheating and unfair methods in CS GO internationally. The presentation mentioned an AI ( Artificial Intelligence ) which would hopefully be able to curb and modify itself according to the development of the Cheaters. This development should be able to catch a majority of the cheats and lower the manual workload for the developers. It would free up space and time for the developers to concentrate on other aspects of the game.
Ofcourse an AI will not always be able to catch all the cheats in the game. But it should lessen the attention demanded from the developers on a individual basis. It will form the core of further development in esports as we can expect other esports genres to also follow suit.
Source 2 !!!
Source 2 finally !!. Yes CS GO is getting Source 2 in the coming summer. The announcement has only been made in Chinese and Valve have not made any announcement yet for their English speaking fanbase. That being said, CS GO being ported to Source 2 engine is big news. The CS GO UI is one of the oldest ( to be honest it’s extremely bland) UI amongst esports. With little to almost no changes in the UI, it definitely can be improved a lot.
There are no other details about what Source 2 will present to the fans. It might feature improved FPS and gameplay or it might just be an UI update for the game. Nevertheless the news is extremely exciting simply to see Valve putting so much effort into CS GO ( which for long has been neglected by the developers).
New Operation is coming out in Summer
CS GO operations have been loved by the community simply cause of the variety of the players. There have been seven operations so far in CS GO, each more loved than the previous one. The last operation was Operation Wildfire, which was released on February 17 and lasted till July 15, 2016.
There have been no other operations since then despite repeated requests from the community. CS GO operations have a rich history of having several maps in the pool which have the potential to be added to the active duty map pool.
The two most famous maps, which eventually did get added to the active duty map pool are Cobblestone and Overpass. Valve has announced the launch of an operation in Summer which is definitely going to excite a lot of fans in CS GO.
Crates will reveal the drop rates in China
The Chinese Government has passed a law requiring esports developers to reveal the drop rates of the crates in game. CS GO drop rates have been a closely guarded secret with no details being revealed of the exact chance of a person getting a knife / rare skin in-game.
The regulation comes from China’s Ministry of Culture, via NeoGAF, and states that “online game publishers shall promptly publicly announce information about the name, property, content, quantity, and draw/forge probability of all virtual items and services.
“The information on draw probability shall be true and effective.”
Chinese organisations push into esports
Chinese organisations are increasingly noticing the massive interest and player base in esports. It presents an opportunity for brands and organisations to make their presence known amongst casual players and fans.
With esports still a relatively new sector globally, any dominance in the sector now will go a long way in establishing these organisations in esports as a big name. It will form the crux of future development in esports.
We have seen big Chinese organisations such as IG, Newbee already invested into Dota2. With CS GO becoming increasingly popular as the face of esports ( already being televised and seeing significant investment from big brands), many of these organisations turned their attention to CS GO. Perfect World has been in talks with Valve since quite sometime and they reached an agreement in July 2016, which saw the announcement of addition of CS GO to China.
Chinese CS GO will form a big part of the viewership numbers and potential investment into the esports in the future. China is already one of the biggest markets in the world. However we are equally excited about the Source 2 and New Operation announcement.
What does this mean for the rest of the world?
Although these announcements have been made specifically for the Chinese version to be released later, they are very well relevant for the rest of the world. There is no way Valve will not let features such as a new operation, Source2 be included in the western (international) version of CS GO.
These changes should change the way CS GO looks and feels. It should make the game much smoother and provide a boost to FPS. However with no information to go upon officially, it is up to us to wait for the official announcement of these changes. We are on the verge of CSGO 2.0 and you can be sure that Valve will leave no stone unturned to make it a rousing success.