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CS:GO’s Continental Divide

How 2020 killed North America’s CS:GO momentum.

A World Torn Apart

You might be inclined to think that gaming wouldn’t really be affected by the pandemic as much as traditional sports, and you’d generally be right. However, while esports managed to survive, they had to change the way they did business when it came to regionalization, which was a harsh blow for the American scene. For “NA”, the problem was never the quality of top-end teams, but rather the lack of depth in the mid-tier. This made it harder for top-level teams to practice against a diverse set of opponents.

We Predict a Riot

Riot’s VALORANT beta launched in April and immediately was heralded as the CS:GO killer. Backed by one of the biggest gaming companies in the world, VALORANT is exactly the kind of game that attracts big American organizations, and money flew in faster than you could say “this game is derivative.”

The Great Escape

Some teams decided to deal with the regional split in a different way. US-Based Brazilian squad MIBR moved to Europe for a few tournaments, only to get absolutely demolished in them. Complexity moved all their operations to Europe, despite planning on playing in North America, and Cloud9 also decided to drop their US-based squad in favour of an international team that will probably compete in Europe.

Next Steps

What happens if it doesn’t? Well, traditional sports have continental divides too. Soccer is extremely popular in Europe, while in North America it can aspire to the title of 4th most popular sport, and that’s if we ignore Canada’s hockey obsession. Likewise, nearly nobody plays American Football or Baseball in Europe, and they’re also rarely watched given the time zone difference.

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