Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is probably one of the most played online tactical shooting games in the history of online gaming. Since its release almost 9 years ago, this team-based action gameplay has been continuously loved by players and still hooked many gamers worldwide. Although it’s currently facing a significant decline in player counts, millions still enjoy playing the game.
CS:GO isn’t just a piece of entertainment for some, as professional players actually do this as their bread and butter. Some of the highest-earning esport teams include Team Liquid, OG, Evil Geniuses (EG), and more – and tell you what, they are actually paid millions of dollars just to play the game.
But how much will you earn if you’re a non-star but pro CS:GO player?
While it’s hard to find the exact figures of how much professional CS:GO players make every month (or annually) as contracts between players and their teams are private and are totally discreet, words are out with regards to their estimated salaries.
Most fans may be unaware of this, but there are actually plenty of ways that a professional CS:GO player makes money from playing. For instance, aside from the cash prizes that players may win from tournaments, they are also paid on a monthly basis. While that may not be through to everyone, especially those in Low Tier, teams who compete internationally are usually paid by their organizations regularly. Hence, teams won’t have to worry whether they win or lose as they are already ensured with income. Although that won’t mean results won’t matter as they may still want to keep their team and themselves relevant, so fans will continue to support them and not the other teams.
Income comparison from 2014 and today
Back when the first major CS:GO tournament was held in 2014, the prize pool of the ESL Major in Katowice was about $250,000. In comparison, the Katowice major’s prize pool last year was $1,000,000. That fact clearly shows how CS:GO has continuously grown over the years.
Given the figures, we may assume that an average CS:GO player can make at least $1000 every month. Also, rumour has it that players who consistently join Majors make about $4,000-6,000 per month. Of course, players from elite teams are expected to receive higher pay. People assume that players from these teams make about $40,000 per month from their respective organizations.
For instance, reports surfaced regarding the salaries of the players from Astralis. Accordingly, their players can make about $364,000 USD per year or about $30,000 USD, before their winnings from any tournament. It’s also been pointed out that pros take home 90% of their tournament winnings. Hence, players like Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, Andreas “Xy.p9x” Hojsleth, Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen, and others can take home some $750,000 for their stellar 2019. If the amount Astralis pays to its players is summed up, the organization could be paying around $1.8 million annually for its players, almost similar to how much the Cloud9 players make.
The salaries of players from team North were also reported. It’s been said that their players make $1.5 million on average per year, or around 240,000 per month. All five salaries within the team may cost roughly $1.2 million. The figures are almost the same as the numbers from the teams of Cloud9 and Astralis.
For the average team, Valiance may be one of the best examples of a CS:GO team in the said category. In a statement, former Valiance player Aleksa “Impulse” Stankic said he can get more money from playing CS:GO than he would make from working in an actual average job in Serbia. Even though he did not disclose his total earnings, you can say that an average CS:GO player makes a decent amount from playing and can therefore make a living of it.
CS:GO Players Dropped by Nearly 17%
Unfortunately, it may be anticipated that slight (if not much) changes may occur in the abovementioned earnings as the average number of CS:GO players continuously declining since 2018. This opens to speculations, leading fans to ask one common question: is CS:GO dying in 2021?
According to the available data, CS:GO’s average player count for May was 659,889 people and it fell to just 549,347 for June. The last recorded high player count for the game after its launch in 2012 was in May 2018. While it’s not clear yet what prompted huge changes, one of the reasons seen is when Valve recently decided to charge players to access Prime matchmaking ($15 for the Prime status).
However, some are still hopeful that CS:GO is still going strong. Statistics say that the esport is still experiencing its peak and still has millions of concurrent users.
Nonetheless, it’s undeniable that professional CS:GO players can make money out of something they enjoy doing. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has already proven itself in giving players not just high levels of entertainment, but also a great source of living for some pros.