The ESL has canceled the Intel Extreme Masters China competition that was scheduled to occur in December of this year. The principal reasons for canceling the tournament have been attributed by the organizers to the “ongoing COVID-19 crisis and challenges of staging an international competition in China.”
Collapsing CS:GO Scene in Asia
There is less room for what was once a growing business to grow since Asian nations are receiving fewer tournaments and opportunities. Let’s look at the various causes that have contributed to the CS:GO in Asia scene being severely affected.
The first of these is the COVID-19 epidemic, which has wreaked havoc on the planet over the past three years. Although China initially asserted that it recovered more quickly than the majority of other nations in the early phase, it appears that the virus is once again having a negative impact on the nation.
With the exception of the ESL, which China has twice hosted, very few significant CS:GO competitions have been held in China and Korea.
The tournament has previously been conducted in two cities: IEM Shanghai in 2018 and IEM Beijing in 2019. Tight lockdowns, limitations on domestic movement, and other problems are still present in the nation and have pressed the ESL’s hand.
China is a powerhouse in the world of gaming and esports, generating top-tier teams for League of Legends and Dota 2. Since 2011, both offer significant competitions with specified paths and qualifying for teams from China and Southeast Asia to compete in their respective global championships.
But with CS:GO, that’s not the case. This is just another barrier to China and the other Asian nations’ ability to compete on a global stage.
How Will the Asian Teams Fare?
There aren’t many esports competitions, outside of the Majors, that have Asian teams qualify, and there aren’t many professional leagues that can make playing CS:GO professionally more financially viable. Only two Asian teams will compete in the IEM Road to Rio qualifiers; they will be the only teams to advance from the Asian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Oceanic Qualifiers. In contrast, the Americas only have six IEM slots, whereas Europe has sixteen.
There aren’t enough high-profile third-party leagues like Valorant’s EPL or Dota 2’s ECS currently. Valve must intervene and establish additional leagues and opportunities if the game is to expand in these areas. Up until that time, only three- and four-tier CS:GO teams will compete in the Asian area. Let’s compare Valorant and Rainbow Six, who have done a much better job of building internationally competitive circuits, for the purpose of comparison.
With Valorant esports having a dedicated Korean circuit and a another one for Japan, both titles have an online Southeast Asian and Oceania league. National competitions are also held, and the winners advance to LAN Majors and the World Championship. They have built a robust ecosystem that gives the SEA, OCE, Korean, and Japan areas plenty of representation.
The game’s severe decline in South Korea can be directly attributed to Valve. CS:GO never gained traction, in contrast to some of their other esports teams, which have excelled internationally. Up until the “PC Bang Incident” in 2004 the game enjoyed enormous popularity in the nation.
By charging $15 a month for each PC that ran the game across all of the PC Bangs in Korea, Valve made a terrible decision that, in reality, put them in danger.
Despite this, the Korean squad MVP PK did experience some success internationally, even if they have never taken first place in a major competition. However, due to the lack of CS:GO fandom in the nation, the squad finally disbanded and its members joined VALORANT.
In conclusion, players in Asian nations lack sufficient motivation to pursue CS:GO professionally. Asia and China’s professional sector has lagged behind due to a lack of third-party leagues, representation at key competitions, and other factors.
With a 200% increase in participants in 2019, the game is becoming more and more popular in China, but for professionals without prior experience competing internationally, it can be challenging. This year’s IEM China had the potential to reignite the flame for Asian players, but it was canceled instead, adding to the growing unrest in the industry.