Valve has disclosed that for the past year, around $70 million (~£59 million) has been raised for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players and squads by the community. The game developer revealed that the amount was raised after selling in-game capsules and stickers. Players and teams are usually given a percentage of the proceeds.
The CS:GO developer announced the figure via a blog post created to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the famous FPS. The post read, “Over the past 12 months alone, we’ve seen more players than ever before (averaging over 20 million monthly unique players), record viewership for Majors (2.7m concurrent viewers), and massive community support with over $70 million raised for professional organizations, teams, and players. The future could not look brighter.”
The figure announced by Valve is a peek into the organization’s system for revenue sharing and reveals that digital item sales earned players more money than the Major prize pools. This, however, differs for each esports team because there is no uniform way in which earnings from item sales and price pools are shared amongst professional gamers. On their part, Valve holds an unknown percentage of the revenue produced by every in-game Major associated item sale.
Since 2014, the US-based company has sold stickers for players to attach to their in-game weapons. A year later, Valve started distributing player-signed stickers and also added Major viewing passes to their items of sale. The passes provided more cosmetic and in-game products.
The second ESL Major of 2022 will be held in two months in Rio de Janeiro and will give organizations a chance to acquire more sticker revenue. The system of splitting revenue acts as a means of encouraging organizations with CS:GO lineups to carry on with their participation in Counter-Strike.
Despite this, long-standing Danish esports organization North announced its decision to close its esports doors entirely. According to the announcement posted, the organization had financial issues after the pandemic caused its investors, Nordisk Film and Parker Sport & Entertainment, to pull out of the partnership and focus on their individual core businesses.
After the loss, North was reportedly unable to find suitable matches in its investment search, which was required to continue operations and establish a sustainable organization in the future. Gen.G and 100 Thieves also notably announced their intention to close down their CS:GO divisions.
While sticker revenue sharing is a welcome source of revenue for teams and players, its distribution has not always been smooth. The Ninjas in Pyjamas players are currently involved in a sticker revenue dispute with their organization for not giving them a cut of the sales.
The revenue was from the 2020 Rio de Janeiro Major, which was canceled at the time and is expected to be between $200,000 and $300,000. However, this figure is uncertain because agreements between organizations and players vary.
Compared to the amount shared amongst teams involved in the Valve-sponsored The International, the CS:GO developer’s $70m figure is notably more impressive. The 2021 Dota 2 event was primarily funded by in-game sales and possessed a prize pool of around $40 million (34 million).
Via the post, Valve also revealed the specifics concerning how viewing figures for Majors were a success and disclosed the continued wellbeing of the game for the past four years when it went free to play.
Valve’s next CS:GO tournament, the Intel Extreme Masters Road to Rio 2022, is scheduled to be held in October, with the Major scheduled for November. The betting odds for the tournament are currently unavailable and will be featured in a few weeks before the tournament commences with the top betting sites.