Analysis: Is the CS:GO Esports Scene Too Saturated?

An in-depth analysis of the 2021 CS:GO competitive season.

Aditya Singh Rawat
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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Analysis: Is The CS:GO Esports Scene Too Saturated</p></div>

Counter-Strike is a competitive shooter which is easy to learn but takes a lifetime to master. The Valve title has one of the most dedicated esports scenes which has been alive since the early 2000s, and is continuing to flourish till this very day. The competitive scene of the game has evolved over the years with the skill ceiling being at an all-time high, requiring players to dedicate more time to practice both at an individual and team level.

The frequency of tournaments taking place across the world and the number of tournament organizers operating these events have also witnessed an increase. However, over time this has led to various players experiencing severe burnout, sustained fatigue, and prolonged mental exhaustion. Such issues are raising concerns with regards to the schedule of the CS:GO tournaments taking place within a calendar year.

Further ahead is a look at the packed schedule of the 2021 CS:GO esports calendar. Whether players shall receive adequate breaks to mentally recuperate is a cause for concern. We have also compared CS:GO to some traditional sporting leagues, drawing a comparison between the rest and playtime that athletes receive.

CS:GO Competitive Seasons: 2020, 2021

2020 and 2021 are atypical as the world recovers from a pandemic that has substantially impacted esports tournament schedules and formats. Competitive Counter-Strike, which has temporarily transitioned to largely being played online, has witnessed a shift in power towards the European region. In the process, regions like North America have suffered significantly. Despite these changes and a few setbacks, all major tournament organizers planned out their respective tournaments for the 2021 CS:GO circuit well in advance, with some events taking place in a LAN environment.

From the community’s point of view, however, the scene felt slightly different. The schedule felt heavily saturated with the sheer volume of online tournaments taking place one after the other. The recent LAN tournament, IEM Cologne 2021, was a breath of fresh air for both the viewers and the players, as top-tier CS:GO action returned to an offline format after more than 16 months. But this was short-lived, as tournament organizers still opted to conduct tournaments online due to the resources and planning required to pull off a LAN event at this point in time.

The situation even affected multiple professional players who started suffering from mental burnouts and fatigue due to factors like the sheer number of matches they were playing, competing in a restrictive environment, alongside various other reasons.

Having discussed the impact of these two majorly online CS:GO competitive seasons, let’s take a look at all the top-tier tournaments that took place in 2021. Through this, we shall examine whether or not the current CS:GO circuit is too packed and strenuous on the professional players.

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