Counter-Strike 2 or CSGO? IEM Sydney 2023’s game in focus remains a mystery

IEm Cologne 2022 stage pictureESL

Will it be Counter-Strike 2 or CSGO by the time of IEM Masters Fall 2023? As IEM Sydney comes into focus, the exact game in play after the break is still a mystery.

Counter-Strike 2 is slated for a Summer release this year, but as of writing, we have no concrete dates. This is a problem for professional players and spectators alike as it naturally causes some confusion. Which game will be played shortly after its release? CSGO for a few extra months, or will there be an immediate transition to CS2?

Article continues after ad

Of course, select players already have access to the CS2 beta and are most likely actively playing and even streaming themselves grinding Mirage over and over again. However, the closest thing to professional CS2 fans have been able to catch a glimpse of are show matches at recent IEM and BLAST tournaments

And so far, we already know one tournament is confirmed to be played on CS2,2024’s PGL Major Copenhagen, slated to be the first Major played in CS2. But what about the rest of 2023’s tournaments? With CS2 set to be released this summer, which game is the rest of the 2023 season being played on after the player break?

Article continues after ad

With IEM Sydney being announced as 2023’s Fall Masters, we asked ESL directly to try and gain some clarity on the situation.

Will it be CSGO or Counter-Strike 2 by the Fall Season?

Team Brazil in a CS2 showmatch at IEM Rio 2023ESL
Team Brazil playing in a Counter-Strike 2 show match at IEM Rio 2023.

Ahead of IEM Sydney, we interviewed ESL’s Head of Sales and Marketing, Graeme Du Toit, and tried to get to the bottom of it all. Which game will be played by October? That’s “the million dollar question,” he responded with a laugh. 

“We don’t know, which is the best answer,” he admitted, with ESL not entirely certain at this stage, much like the fanbase around these blockbuster events. But Graeme assured that CS2 will definitely have a spot in the tournament in some shape or form.

Article continues after ad

“CS2 will be part of the event obviously, even if it’s free for play like in DreamHack Melbourne, at [IEM] Dallas we had a show match. So whether it takes the form of the whole event runs on CS2? I don’t know about the likelihood of that, to be honest.” 

We also asked who at the end of the day gets to make the decision as to which game will be in focus. Graeme explained it’s a mix of both tournament organizers and Valve itself. “It’s a bit of both,” he said.

Article continues after ad

“Valve, as the publisher, has to decide when their game is releasing and when it can be used in something like a competitive tournament, and then for [ESL], it would be deciding what we think is going to be a better fit for an event if we have Valve’s approval.” 

He proceeded to give a hypothetical of when ESL would decide to not play CS2 in a tournament: “Let’s say for example that Valve was okay but we needed to deal with things that would make it challenging, we might decide it’s not ready.”

Article continues after ad

But he assured us that Valve is in contact with ESL as to the status of CS2’s arrival into esports play. So as for what game will be played for the Fall Season for CS, it seems not even ESL knows just yet. But it’s only a matter of time until Valve eventually releases it for the public to play. When that time comes, we will have better clarity as to what game will be in focus as 2023 winds down. 

Related Topics