Gaming fans like to choose games within every genre, which applies to first-person shooters (FPS). Valorant and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are two examples of leading FPS, and they are currently dominating the eSports world. Both games have millions of people around the playing at varying levels, from beginner to professional, but which game is now considered to be the better and more popular?
CS:GO was the fourth release in the Counter-Striker series of games by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment. Released in August 2012, CS:GO continues to receive regular updates and remains one of the leading competitive eSports titles. The multiplayer first-person shooter is contested between two teams, with each team attempting to complete its goals. Each team has five players and nine game modes, including Competitive, Casual, Deathmatch, and Arms Race.
In comparison, Valorant is a new game, and the free-to-play first-person hero shooter was released in June 2020 following a successfully closed beta period in April of the same year. Published by Riot Games, Valorant is a team-based game set in the future, and players are assigned to the attacking or defending team. Each player controls an agent that has a set of unique abilities, and there are several game modes to enjoy. Upon release, Valorant was immediately compared with CS:GO due to the fact the crux of the game involved the teams attempting to plant a bomb.
Over the past two years, much debate has been about the superior game. If we go back to January 2021, by which time Valorant had 6 months to establish itself in the online gaming world, there was a remarkable statistic. In that month, Valorant surpassed CS:GO in terms of revenue and was the top-grossing FPS title for PC, leaving both CS:GO and Fortnite behind. In a report by Superdata, the number of people playing Valorant was up 29% from December to January, and total earnings were up by 39% over the same period.
It is worth noting, in terms of gameplay, Valorant is the easier game to pick up and start playing. Even those who have little experience playing FPS-style games can quickly become accustomed to what is required to be successful when playing Valorant, and the skill floor is low. The ability-based character design and pleasing graphics also make Valorant an attractive game to newcomers. The same cannot be said for CS:GO, and those who are genuine FPS fans will have been playing this game for several years. However, newcomers will not find it easy to step into the game and become successful, especially in the competitive arena of eSports. Thanks to the high skill ceiling, it takes a lot of time to master the mechanics of CS:GO but it is one of the most rewarding games for those who dedicate their time.
Focusing on the eSports element and both Valorant and CS:GO have a huge following. There is no doubt CS:GO remains the most popular game in terms of eSports events. Valorant is attracting plenty of interest in the eSports scene and it is possible to bet on Valorant at most of the major online bookmakers. However, throughout 2021 and for much of 2022, comparing the viewer figures of the major eSports tournaments shows CS:GO has had close to 10 times the number of followers for the biggest events.
Looking at the number of people actively playing Valorant in 2022, the number is between 750,000 and 850,000 people concurrently. This comes to close to matching the number of people playing CS:GO but there remains a difference in the eSports scene. However, it is worth remembering that Valorant is a relatively new game, and CS:GO had 8 years to develop a competitive following before Valorant was released. The viewership of Valorant is on an upward trend, and although the title still has some way to go to match the figures of CS:GO, over time, it could close the gap. In five years’ time, it could be a different story, and Valorant could be the top game in terms of viewers for FPS eSports.
Interestingly some big-name eSports players have switched from CS:GO to Valorant, and that shows the latter is a real threat to the dominance of CS:GO. Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom played CS:GO for over a decade at the top level but made the switch to play Valorant with Team Liquid. Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen is another player to move from CS:GO to play Valorant competitively with Team Liquid. Other big-name eSports players to make the switch from CS:GO to Valorant include Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, G2, Spencer “Hiko” Martin, and Nick “nitr0” Cannella.
So, there is evidence Valorant could dethrone CS:GO as the best FPS eSports, but the game still has some way to go before it can claim to be number one.