CSGO is one of the longest-living esports games with a massive following and incredibly prestigious esports tournaments. Hundreds of thousands of players play the game daily which shows CSGO’s stability in the gaming world. In this article, we’ll explore the history of CSGO and certain changes that improved and expanded the game over the years.

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CSGO History

CSGO was launched in 2012 by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment. The game was in development for two years due to the scope of the game itself compared to its predecessors. The premise of the game is exactly the same as in all prior Counter-Strike games – Terrorists need to either kill all opposing players or successfully detonate the bomb, and vice-versa.

Speaking of previous Counter-Strike games, they were as follows (ordered from oldest to newest):

  • Counter-Strike (the most popular of which was the 1.6 version)
  • Counter-Strike: Condition Zero
  • Counter-Strike: Source
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Initially, the game had to be purchased through Steam in order to play. However, the price wasn’t high ($15/15€) so there was no outrage from the community as is the case with some AAA titles.

Besides, the player base welcomed the new addition to the series with open arms because Counter-Strike: Source wasn’t quite as good as CS1.6.

The game went through numerous changes over the years, but the developers kept true to what Counter-Strike means so there weren’t any major changes to the core gameplay. This is why the game is alive and well, even today – the gameplay is simple enough to attract new players regularly but rewarding enough to keep older ones.

Valve consistently releases updates that further polish and balance the game. They also release large content updates known as ‘Operations’, but more on that later.

At the time of this article’s writing, the game has celebrated its 10th anniversary which is a huge undertaking in and of itself. Only the best games have a lifespan that’s longer than 10 years and it’s evident that CSGO is one of them.

So, after 10 years of existence and players from all kinds of esports countries playing the game, what major changes did it experience and how were they received by the community?

All Major Updates on CSGO

CSGO’s existence can technically be divided into a couple of periods that were defined by a single large update. These updates also contain small improvements and bug fixes but are generally made to expand the game with new additions, whether they’re new maps, weapons, skins, or mechanics. Here are the biggest ones:

Arms Deal Update (2013)

This was one of the first larger updates that the game has received over the years. The Arms Deal update introduced new cosmetic weapons finishes – or skins as we know them today. In essence, this update also kickstarted CSGO skin betting which is a lucrative opportunity for bettors that wish to wager their skins.

It also enabled community creators to make money from their skins. If a weapon skin was added to a weapon case, that creator would receive a small profit from the sales. All of this contributed to the creation of CSGO’s virtual economy – and subsequently brought more players into the game than ever before. Most CSGO fans will tell you that this was the most important update in the game’s history.

Soon after this update, Valve would launch their first ‘Operation’; an ‘expansion pass’ that enables players access to locked, limited-time content in the form of maps, game modes, weapon cases, and more.

Music Kit Update (2014)

The Music Kit update introduced music kits; a form of personalized content that players could activate for their accounts. If the player wins MVP (Most Valuable Player) after a round, his/hers music will play instead of the default music.

Although this is mainly a gimmick, it also strengthened CSGO’s economy since music kits could be borrowed and sold on the Steam Community Market (the same place you’d buy skins from).

Map Remakes, Operations, Graffiti, and more (2016)

2016 was a pretty strong year when it comes to CSGO updates. The update contained two reworked maps (Nuke and Inferno), Prime matchmaking, and more.

Prime matchmaking simply involved pairing you up with players who have connected a verified phone number to their accounts (you’d have did the same at this point) to prevent smurfing and cheating. In essence, this was created to protect players and give them fair matchups.

Near the end of the year, a smaller update was released that would introduce graffiti; a mechanic that replaced ‘sprays’. Graffiti could also be purchased on the market but they can also be acquired with other means. Lastly, glove skins were released at the end of this year.

Even though this wasn’t one singular update, so many things were added or changed that it’s basically classified as one large update for 2016.

Trust Factor Update (2017)

The Trust Factor update brought a new system to the table. A player’s ‘trust factor’ was now being calculated using certain metrics such as in-game and Steam-wide actions. Some of these include the number of reports made against the player, playtime, and other hidden metrics.

Free-to-Play Conversion (2018)

Arguably the biggest talking point of gaming in 2018, Valve decided to make the game completely Free-to-Play. This major decision was originally received negatively by the community, but players soon realized that those who bought the game would receive certain benefits.

For instance, they were automatically upgraded to Prime status and given the ability to receive drops in the form of cosmetic items. This update also introduced a new battle royale game mode called Danger Zone.

Numerous New Operation Releases (2019+)

2019 marked the first year where Valve decided to somewhat streamline the Operation system and releases. From 2019 onward, each year would have one Operation released for it. These newer Operations also contained more item variety as well as plenty of additional features, especially compared to before.

Elements That Have Been Removed/Changed Drastically

Old CSGO Maps

Most of the removed CSGO maps were originally released within a specific Operation release; they aren’t part of the core/major maps. In most cases, Operation maps are time-limited and usually stay live for about half a year. Here are all the old CSGO maps (there are 28 of them):

Map NameDate ReleasedDate Removed
Abbey24.01.201925.04.2019
Austria13.11.201724.01.2019
AztecGame Release13.11.2017
Biome09.10.201825.04.2019
Calavera03.05.202122.09.2021
Chlorine31.03.202023.07.2020
Climb21.02.202116.08.2021
County21.09.202121.02.2022
Crete21.02.202216.08.2022
DustGame Release13.11.2017
Frostbite03.12.202021.09.2021
Grind03.05.202122.09.2021
Hive21.02.202216.08.2022
Insertion01.07.2014
23.05.2017
13.10.2016
09.10.2018
Iris21.02.202216.08.2022
Jungle??2020
Mocha03.05.202122.09.2021
Mutiny23.07.2020??.??.2020
Pitstop03.05.202122.09.2021
Rialto23.05.201703.12.2020
Ruby25.04.201902.10.2019
Seaside??
31.07.2019
13.10.2016
18.11.2019
Shipped13.11.201709.10.2018
Shorttrain31.03.201513.11.2017
Subzero09.10.201824.01.2019
Swamp23.07.2020??.??.2020
Workout11.11.2014
25.04.2019
13.10.2016
31.07.2019
Zoo24.01.201929.05.2019

Old CSGO Menu

The CSGO menu has changed over the years, mainly to improve the user experience and overall aesthetics. However, some players do not like these changes but that is to be expected since it’s such a large game and it’s difficult to make everyone happy.

Overall, the menu nowadays has better visibility and a streamlined design that accompanies the graphical innovations that time brings.

Here’s how some previous versions looked like compared to the current one:

Old CSGO Weapons

Certain weapons that were present in previous games are not available in CSGO due to various reasons. The weapons that aren’t present in CSGO are:

  • Pistols:
    • P228
  • Shotguns:
    • M3
  • Submachine Guns (SMGs):
    • TMP
  • Assault Rifles:
    • SG-552
  • Sniper Rifles:
    • Scout
    • SG 550

CSGO-Specific Weapons

Almost all the weapons that were present in previous Counter-Strike games exist in CSGO as well but there are also numerous weapons that are only available in CSGO. They are:

  • Pistols:
    • CZ75-Auto
    • P2000
    • P250
    • R8 Revolver
    • Tec-9
  • Shotguns:
    • MAG-7
    • Nova
    • Sawed-Off
  • Submachine Guns (SMGs):
    • MP7
    • MP9
    • PP-Bizon
  • Assault Rifles:
    • M4A4
    • SG-553
  • Sniper Rifles:
    • SCAR-20
    • SSG 08
  • Machine Guns:
    • Negev

All CSGO Operations Since Release

OperationRelease DateContents
Operation Payback25.04.2013.7 Maps: Downtown, Favela, Library, Motel, Museum, Seaside, Thunder
Operation Bravo19.09.2013.10 Maps: Agency, Ali, Cache, Chinatown, Gwalior, Ruins, Siege, Seaside, Cobblestone, Overpass
Weapon Case: Operation Bravo Case
Weapon Collections: Alpha Collection
Operation Phoenix20.02.2014.8 Maps: Cache, Motel, Seaside, Downtown, Thunder, Ali, Favela, Agency
Weapon Case: Operation Phoenix Weapon Case
Operation Breakout01.07.2014.6 Maps: Black Gold, Castle, Insertion, Mist, Overgrown, Rush
Weapon Case: Operation Breakout Weapon Case
Weapon Collections: Baggage, Cobble, Overpass
Operation Vanguard11.11.2014.Campaigns: Vanguard, Weapons Specialist, Maghreb, Eurasia Theater
7 Maps: Backalley, Bazaar, Facade, Marquis, Season, Workout, Train
Weapon Case: Operation Vanguard Weapon Case
Operation Bloodhound26.05.2015.Campaigns: Marksman, Revolution
6 Maps: Agency, Log, Rails, Resort, Season, Zoo
Weapon Case: Falchion Case
Weapon Collections: Cobblestone, Cache, Overpass, Gods & Monsters, The Rising Sun, Chop Shop
Operation Wildfire17.02.2016.Campaigns: Gemini, Wildfire
8 Maps: Coast, Cruise, Empire, Mikla, Royal, Santorini, Tulip, Nuke
Weapon Case: Operation Wildfire Case
Weapon Collections: Cobblestone, Cache, Overpass, Gods & Monsters, The Rising Sun, Chop Shop
Operation Hydra23.05.2017.Campaigns: Hydra
7 Maps: Agency, Austria, Black Gold, Insertion, Lite, Shipped, Thrill
Weapon Case: Operation Hydra Case
Weapon Collections: Cobblestone, Cache, Overpass, Gods & Monsters, The Rising Sun, Chop Shop
Game Modes: Wingman, Weapons Expert, War Games
Operation Shattered Web18.11.2019.3 Maps: Jungle, Lunacy, Studio
Weapon Case: Shattered Web Case
Weapon Collections: Shattered Web Agents, Norse, Canals, St. Marc
Other Cosmetics: Operation Shattered Web Stickers, Trolling Graffiti Collection, CSGO Graffiti #2 Collection
Operation Broken Fang03.12.2020.6 Maps: Ancient, Apollo, Elysion, Engage, Frostbite, Guard
Weapon Case: Operation Broken Fang Case
Weapon Collections: Broken Fang Agents, Havoc, Control, Ancient
Game Modes: Retakes, Broken Fang Premier
Other Cosmetics: Operation Broken Fang Stickers, Recoil Stickers, Metal Skill Groups Patches, CSGO Graffiti #3 Collection
Operation Riptide21.09.2021.5 Maps: Basalt, Insertion II, Ravine, Extraction, County
Weapon Case: Operation Riptide Case
Weapon Collections: 2021 Train, 2021 Dust II, 2021 Mirage, 2021 Vertigo
Game Modes: Private Competitive, Short Competitive, FFA Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch
Other Cosmetics: Riptide Agents, Riptide Stickers, Riptide Surf Shop Stickers, Riptide Patches

Old But Gold

It must be said that Valve’s dedication to CSGO and overall relationship towards it should be the industry standard. When you look at the game from a player standpoint, it’s obvious that it hasn’t changed much since it was released.

We can see that the game has received many updates throughout its history which didn’t change its fundamentals. Rather, each update is simply meant to improve the game. And although this didn’t always work (certain weapons being too strong on release, maps not being fit for competitive, etc.), Valve never gave up.

People that have played the game for a long time may tell you that the game is broken. That the player experience is worse than before but in this case, it’s more on the lines of nostalgia rather than the game’s state.

After all, it wouldn’t be one of the biggest esports games in the world if the game was buggy to the point of it being non-viable for esports. If you compare Valve’s push to keep CSGO at the top with how other, larger companies ‘care’ about their games, it’s clear as daylight that Valve is doing a great job.

The best way to get acquainted with the game or learn more about the esports teams that compete in various CSGO events is to watch live streams. Alternatively, you could also watch VODs if you’ve missed the action.

How Old are CSGO Players?

PlayerNicknameAgeTeamTotal Winnings ($1 = 1€)
Oleksandr Kostylievs1mple24Natus Vincere$1,652,721
Finn Andersenkarrigan32FaZe Clan$1,349,538
Timofey Yakushininterz22Cloud9$498,709
Andreas HøjslethXyp9x26Astralis$1,972,050
David Čerňanskýfrozen20MOUZ$324,431
Peter Rasmussendupreeh29Team Vitality$1,972,631
Ilya Osipovm0NESY17G2 Esports$69,717
Nick Cannellanitr027Team Liquid$985,374
Ludvig BrolinBrollan20Ninjas in Pyjamas$316,265
Kaike CeratoKSCERATO22FURIA$284,062

How to Check How Old your CSGO Account is?

Considering your Steam account is tied with CSGO, you’ll be checking this in the ‘Badges’ tab on your profile page.

All you have to do is hover your mouse cursor over the ‘Years of Service’ badge and it’ll display when your Steam account has been created.

Summary

In the end, CSGO might be an older game but it’s generally considered an evergreen example of how to keep updating and expanding a game properly. New players love it, older players may have some issues with it but even they can’t deny the appeal.

And it’s a highly popular choice among bettors as well which means it’s pretty easy to understand and get around with even if you’ve never played before. The good news is that there’s still plenty of life in almost-evergreen games such as CSGO and Dota 2.


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FAQ

CSGO FAQs

CSGO was released in 2012 and has since then reached its 10th anniversary. It’s one of the longest-lasting games in both esports and casual play.

The first Counter-Strike was released in 1999 as a mod for Half-Life. Following the initial success of the game, it was expanded upon and a couple of new releases have been made over the years.

This is a difficult question to answer but if Valve continue to do what they’ve been doing, there’s no doubt that the game will have a presence in the gaming world for a long time to come.

No, CSGO cannot be played on mobile and there’s currently no indication that Valve is going to release a mobile version of the game.

The youngest professional CSGO player is Ilya Osipov, otherwise known as m0NESY. He is 17 years old and plays for G2 Esports.

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