Counter-Strike fans in Japan will get an exclusive public playtest of CS2, but it may not be enough to build a competitive esports scene.
The first-ever DreamHack event in Japan will come with a special surprise for the country’s Counter-Strike scene. DreamHack Japan is confirmed to feature a public playtest of CS2, which is currently limited to an extremely small set of players through Stream. The event will give players a chance to test out the fancy new smoke mechanics and possibly even some new maps, but it may not be enough to kickstart a competitive scene.
The playtest was announced through DreamHack’s official Japanese social media channels. In the tweet, the company revealed that the “bring your own computer” section of the LAN will have special computers featuring the unreleased engine update. While Valve was not listed as being involved in the affair, it’s practically guaranteed that the developer gave the okay to the companies involved.
Fans outside of Japan may not care much about this announcement, but it shows that Valve is willing to let players test out CS2 at major LANs and industry events. If there’s a DreamHack or IEM coming to a city near you, it may be your best chance to play the game early. Aside from that, fans can only hope that Valve gives more news on the CS2 beta after a possible company-wide vacation.
Will CS2 esports be big in Japan?
Counter-Strike esports is not particularly popular in Japan, but the release of CS2 will invigorate the smaller-sized scene.
In Japan, video game competitions are classified as a type of gambling, which means that cash prizes are technically forbidden. Many tournaments offer alternate forms of prizes like flashy controllers, grand feasts, or, in some cases, frozen crabs. Some pro players have acquired licenses that allow them to compete for cash, but these are uncommon even at the highest level of play.
Still, Japan has a competitive CSGO scene that will likely continue development with CS2. Some Japanese teams have made appearances at international events, though they’re usually limited to squads in Asia. A small handful of commentators and analysts also call the country their home.