What’s Causing The Rise Of Free Agents And Retired Pros In CS:GO?
Within the past two months, a bunch of players have left their teams due to multiple reasons. Some have moved on as free agents while others chose to retire from competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) for good.
It’s always hard seeing talented players being put off to the side, but there are often understandable reasons behind it. Due to the release of VALORANT and a lack of openings on teams, a ton of players have switched titles.
Both VALORANT and CS:GO have similar in-game mechanics, which is why it’s an easy switch. Others have simply retired due to the stressful hours within competitive gaming and esports in general. While entering CS:GO as a full-time job might seem like a dream for most, it’s very draining and can often lead to multiple late nights and unorganised sleep schedules.
Both pro scenes being Tier 1 and amateur, have both faced multiple free agents. Some were released due to a lack of points, while others left on mutual agreements. Team Envy most recently let go of Michal "MICHU" Muller after being inactive for nearly an entire month.
The Polish rifler has spent most of his career within Europe but most recently joined the North American circuit. MICHU played in eight different events with Envy before making his way to small pickup teams back in Europe.
Switching regions definitely had a big hit on MICHU’s career, and it was anything but pretty. Envy was struggling before his arrival, and they were in desperate need of a talented roster. MICHU has already received some offers, except this time he’ll be playing with smaller teams. It’s never easy switching regions, especially due to language barriers and restrictions due to COVID-19.
As for retired pros, both Klaudia "klaudia" Beczkiewicz and Maxim "wippie" Shepelev have left CS:GO for a new series. Both players have officially moved on to compete within VALORANT on a trial basis.
Klaudia has been competing since 2015 with various all-female rosters, including Team Karma, CLG Red, Assassins, and Galaxy Racer Female. While the scene is filled with a ton of talent, it often lacks money-making opportunities.
Within a period of five years, klaudia has made roughly $10,000 with some of the top all-female teams. Since VALORANT is a new game, there’s definitely a major possibility of seeing equal payouts for both male and female divisions.
Wippie, on the other hand, has only been competing for roughly two years. He’s competed with a bunch of teams, mostly in the C-Tier division. At the end of the day, amateur events just don’t earn as much money. This is most likely the reason for wippie’s retirement due to his hopes to go pro in VALORANT.
Another player that was hypnotised by the powers of VALORANT was an entry fragger by the name of Filipe "Pizituh" Pires. He’s been around the block for nearly six years and is mostly recognised for his time with k1ck eSports, Team Alientech, and eXploit Esports.
His career even goes back to 2007 when he competed in the original Counter-Strike series. At one point, he even took a year off from CS:GO to play a completely different game known as League of Legends.
After being away from an FPS title, he realised that it was still his preferred style of gaming. Now he’s gone off as a free agent to compete within VALORANT for a brand new team.
He’s definitely a determined player, which is why he’ll have a great shot at a different game. Talented players will often adapt and follow the trail of contract money despite the esports career.
DIP IN EARNINGS
CS:GO, in general, has housed a bunch of players and teams since its official release. The game itself has brought in over $100,000,000 in tournament earnings and has created a ton of careers.
But with the release of new games and bigger budgets, CS:GO has seen a slight decrease in competitive players. Since January of this year, over a hundred players have either left their teams or retired for good.
In 2020, over a hundred players were in the same situation within the first two weeks of January. It’s clear that fewer players have been getting the boot, but it’s still a large amount. Since teams have moved to competing online, advertisement companies have lowered in value.
They’ve spent most of this year holding on to their ad deals, knowing that virtual viewers can’t compete with live stadiums. Another thing is that investors have backed away from esports due to a lack of communication and housing costs.
While travelling prices have completely decreased, it’s still costly to host players within the online world. The amateur scene has taken the biggest hit since their funding was small, to begin with. Most of these teams are often owned by determined founders that can’t come up with enough money for salaries.
Images via Liquipedia | Valve