Valve changing CS2 esports with open circuit, no partner teams

By Olivia Richman


Aug 3, 2023

Reading time: 2 min

Valve is attempting to make it easier for teams to get into high-level tournaments by changing the ecosystem.

Counter-Strike 2 is just around the corner and Valve is most likely anticipating even more eyes on its Counter-Strike esports scene. Despite Counter-Strike: Global Offensive being over a decade old, the competitive scene for the game has continued to be one of the biggest in esports. Now, Valve is hoping to expand it and make it more accessible.

In a recent blog post, Valve explained that teams used to compete on a level playing field where ability was the “only limit to their success.” This has started to change the past few years, however. The ecosystem has become “less open” and access to the highest levels of competition have been more exclusive than ever for one reason.

Valve looking to change esports scene ahead of CS2

According to Valve, the reason for the gatekeeping is “business relationships.” To go back to creating a more open ecosystem in high tier CS esports, Valve is making some changes to the business side of things.

Valve stated that tournament organizers will no longer be able to have “unique business relationships” or other conflicts of interest with teams that are participating in the events. This means no more partner teams.

Then, invitations to tournaments will use Valve’s ranking system or have open qualifiers. This means any team could technically get into a Major if they qualify rather than relying on exclusive invitations. It’s currently unclear how these invitations will be impacted overall.

Finally, all compensation including prize pools will be made public. Valve wants the community to “inspect” the compensation, which will be driven by objective criteria. It’s unclear what the criteria is just yet.

“Since tournament organizers have existing long term commitments, these requirements will take effect as of 2025,” Valve concluded. “There will be some rough edges to the transition, but we’re committed to the long-term health of Counter-Strike as a sport and are looking forward to its bright and open future.”


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