Photo credit: Helena Kristiansson / ESL Gaming
Esports tournament organiser ESL Gaming has announced that all of its upcoming tournaments will take place in Counter-Strike 2, the newly-released update to the Counter-Strike franchise.
This includes the majority of ESL’s major events, except the ongoing ESL Pro League, which started before the official Counter-Strike 2 launch.
The news comes after Counter-Strike 2 (CS2) effectively replaced CS:GO in the Steam store after its launch on September 27th. This is a departure from previous new versions in the Counter-Strike franchise, which were released as standalone games.
According to ESL, all of the remaining tournaments in 2023 will be played in the new game. However, the ESL Pro League Season 18 will be excluded due to the fact that the tournament takes place over a month and it had already started before the new game launched.
In an announcement post, ESL said: “As the competition is currently ongoing and in order to preserve the tournament integrity… ESL Pro League Season 18 will continue to feature CS:GO, as potentially the last Tier 1 league in this historic chapter of Counter-Strike.”
Meanwhile, IEM Sydney, ESL Challenger Jonkjoping, ESL Challenger Atlanta, IEM Katowice 2024 and all following tournaments, will be played in CS2. The tournament organiser’s female esports league ESL Impact will additionally move to Counter-Strike 2.
The long-awaited new version of Counter-Strike officially launched after several months of beta testing during which selected players were granted access through the in-game client. The new game introduces several gameplay changes.
The first Major to be played in Counter-Strike 2 will be the PGL Major Copenhagen in March 2024. Majors, which are officially sponsored by developer Valve, are typically the most important events in the Counter-Strike calendar.
On September 28th, a day after Counter-Strike 2 launched, tournament platform FACEIT announced its first competitive circuit for the game, the FACEIT Pro League Proving Grounds circuit aimed at the grassroots-level of play.