Pros speak up about the lack of new features in Counter-Strike
The game of Counter-Strike is one of the oldest and simplest FPS games in esports. It is a very simple game to understand and that is what makes the esports scene so alluring to new fans. The Game developers, Valve have not paid much attention to their game. We see a definite lack of new features and maps within the game.
The game’s recent statistics show a declining player-base. It is definitely a cause for worry as it means that fans are just not interested in the game as much anymore. We take a look at past mistakes and why the game’s player base is on a decline.
Counter-Strike: Declining player base.
A recent Reddit post clearly shows how the player base has been on a decline for the past few months. Last month’s average player base has dipped low enough to be comparable to 2015 levels. The average players for the last thirty days, which includes most of April 2018 stands at 293,790. In the last couple of years, we have seen the average player base only increasing around the CS GO Majors ( which are usually held around July and January )
For most of the remainder of the year, the player base is usually on a decline. The image clearly shows more red than green closer to the current date. Counter-Strike has matured as a game and ultimately we will witness a plateauing of the numbers. But the current decline basically puts it near the
Where are the new features?
The game lacks the release of new features. The initial years saw a lot of activity from the CS GO developer team, but the last few years has seen almost nothing. The number of operations has reduced to just one per year. There has been a lack of new maps within the game, with the latest new map being released in December 2013 ( Overpass). We have no updates on the Panorama UI which was scheduled to release ‘before the end of 2017’.
- Last New Map Released: Overpass, December 2013
- Last Operation: Operation Hydra, May 2017
No brand new maps
Valve’s last Counter-Strike map release was in December 2013. It has been more than 4 years since we have seen the addition of a brand new map in the competitive map pool. While they have been reworking several of the existing maps such as Inferno, Dust 2, Nuke and now Cobblestone, the lack of variety in terms of maps is obvious.
In order to keep the player base interested in the game, there have to be regular updates and new features. The game’s concept is extremely strong, but if Valve does not release new features within the game, the decline in the player base is not really surprising.
Valve did release de_Canals, but the map is nowhere near to being a competitive map. The lack of regular updates to the map suggests that Valve does not plan on adding it to the esports map pool anytime soon.
The Operations are seasonal events released within the game. They add new maps, new game modes and definitely new skins to the game. They were quite successful on their initial release but the frequency of new operations has dwindled down in the past few years.
Schedule of Counter-Strike Operations:
- Operation Payback: August 25-August 31, 2013,
- Operation Bravo: September 19, 2013, to February 5, 2014,
- Operation Phoenix: February 20, 2014, to June 11, 2014,
- Operation Breakout: July 1, 2014, to October 2, 2014,
- Operation Vanguard: November 11, 2014, to March 31, 2015,
- Operation Bloodhound: May 26, 2015, to October 1, 2015,
- Operation Wildfire: February 17, 2016, to July 15, 2016,
- Operation Hydra: May 23, 2017, to November 13, 2017.
As we can see the schedule of operations has decreased consistently with the passage of time. While 2014 saw the release of three operations, the number has been declining ever since. The previous two years both saw only one CS GO operation being released, after months of community outrage.
Counterstrike operations are one of the few features within the game. However, Valve’s lack of focus on these operations has only highlighted their lack of focus.
Panorama UI will be released by the end of 2017, but it’s already May 2018
Wait, it’s 2018 already. Where is Panorama UI? No one knows the answer. We are almost at the halfway mark of 2018 and Valve’s lack of communication and follow up on the Panorama UI is baffling. By now, the community is accustomed to Valve’s silence, however, at some point, it does get a bit too much.
The Counter-Strike forums are always filled with rants about the game, it’s current state and the poor matchmaking experience. With the new statistics ( about the decline in player base), we are witnessing several pros and well-known community figures speak up and criticize Valve’s inaction.
A video by Youtuber, DinoswarLeaf appropriately explains how the Panorama UI would help Counter-Strike in a big way. But apart from the first statements, Valve has done nothing to suggest an approximate release date for the UI. We have already surpassed the original release date ( end of 2017).
The community has been complaining about lack of interest on the part of Valve developers towards Counter-Strike. Even Dota 2, another game in Valve’s kitty receives more attention.
I feel bad for everyone talking bout roster moves when the game they are all signed to play is dying. More and more orgs will pull out of cs this year. Unless valves bitch ass does something.
— mOE (@m0E_tv) April 28, 2018
Thoorin also points out how Valve has been making so much money from the game, yet they have not been giving out as much into the development of the game.
Counter-Strike has made revenue for Valve of something like – well, principaly the better part of a billion dollars – yet they still don’t have a full team of people working on maps, designing an approach to having new maps, figuring out what core elements make a good map, having official seasons that we can test maps and smalls tournaments then bring them into play – it blows my mind.
I really do understand the frustation from casual CS:GO players. I stream for a living, actually I try to stream for a living but Valve & whoever is working on CS:GO is not helping at all. Its not fun to play matchmaking, there is no initiative to grind, to improve to claim ranks
— Jacob "Pimp" Winneche (@Pimp_CSGO) April 24, 2018
Its a super broken and outdated system that serves no purpose for anyone after having played the game for more than 200 hours. It super stupid, especially when you consider how little it would take to make it interesting. Stats, Leagues, seasons, do something before its to late..
— Jacob "Pimp" Winneche (@Pimp_CSGO) April 24, 2018
It is quite obvious by now that Valve’s silence in the community is not the optimal approach. The community is definitely providing negative feedback for years and now we are actually witnessing a player base decline for the game. A game which has made over a billion dollars for Valve definitely needs more attention.
There are several short terms solutions such as a community manager position, who can communicate updates on various projects. Valve definitely need more players working on Counter-Strike and increase the pace of development.
But with new Valve titles such as Artifact slated for a release, it is still unsure how much Valve is willing to invest ( in developer hours) to Counter-Strike. The game will stand on its own for a very long time, however, it is not immune to problems. The decline in player base might just be the perfect wake up call for Valve to step up their game.