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While there is currently no hard maximum age limit for professional CS:GO players. Players aged between 18 to 22 years old generally fare better than the older counterparts.
Counter-Strike, the predecessor to the highly successful sequel Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO), celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. It is arguably one of the most popular game titles in history, fuelled by the success of its regular updates including the introduction of CSGO skins. The wider gaming ecosystem is bewildered by the success of this cosmetic update since 2013, proving to industry leaders that virtual items do work in the gaming industry. Noteworthy sales such as the souvenir AWP Dragon Lore and the recent M4A4 Howl CSGO skin which fetched a world-record price of $100,000 for a virtual in-game item have put CSGO in the industry spotlight numerous times.
Additionally, from the game changing 1.6 and Source, CSGO has also seen a considerable number of CSGO veterans alongside younger talents, especially in the competitive scene of CSGO. It is known that CSGO is a game that has proven to the world that esports should be recognised as a form of sports. Like traditional sports, it is a customary practice for any esports game titles for professional players to step away, or retire from playing competitively and give way to newer and younger CSGO pro players.
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Similar to professional athletics in traditional sports like football and basketball, players would have reached an age where it is no longer possible to perform exceptional maneuvers as compared to their prime age of between 18 to 22 years old. Thus, most CSGO esports teams will occasionally see a replacement of older pro players with a new lineup at any given time.
As the scene evolves with the change of time, older players would have to decide if they are still to contribute by taking up other roles or to leave the competitive scene completely. Many CSGO fans would be intrigued to know where these players go when they are no longer pro players of CSGO. In this article by SkinCashier, we will be going through possible routes of CSGO pros and the reason that they have undertaken various paths as they retire from the scene.
At 32 years old, CSGO legends such as Fatih “gob b” Dayik and Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko have gained respect and shown incredible performances during the period of their professional gameplays. Likewise, Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács and Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer of FaZe Clan have also contributed greatly to the CSGO competitive scene during the years that they compete for their teams. However, after a decade of competitive involvement with CSGO, they have stepped away from the active roster of CSGO esports.
These CSGO veterans have been considering their future beyond their time as CSGO pros as burnout is one of the most common reasons for their exit. Although there are still many players who stayed on to play without officially retiring even if they are of age to retire, those who have decided to leave are often known to be unable to keep up with the intense schedule lined up for them, as well as to pursue other interests, after committing more than a decade of their time playing competitive in CSGO. For instance, the iconic Brazilian player Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo has set up his own brand and is now streaming for a significant community. Other players have chosen to stay in the scene as coaches and managers of their team.
Uncertainties in Coaching
To most, it may seem that players who have had significant careers and experience would be the most natural fits for moving into coaching or talent spheres. For example, the guiding power of Danny “zonic” Sørensen has been praised equally alongside gla1ve’s in-game leadership for Astralis. But running the pro team is often regarded as a thankless task and a way for the organisation to have someone to put the blame on in the event if the roster is torched. Also, the opportunity may not alway be open to professional players since there is a limited role for the handful of CSGO teams in the esports arena.
Alternative paths for CSGO pros
If the coaching path does not work out for some CSGO pro players, they may venture into the talent circle to observe prominent CSGO Majors to ensure no foul plays were involved in the tournament. The role of being an analyst in CSGO competitions may not be easy for former CSGO pros, as they may not transition well onto talent desks, but to those with the natural flair of observing and analysing matches, they will debut the role smoothly. For example, Joshua “steel” Nissan is one of the former pro players who have been brought in to observe ESL One Cologne 2014, exposing the iBUYPOWER match fixing scandal that has plagued the Major.
Fortunately, given their fame and performance in the CSGO esports scene, there are other viable opportunities that await former CSGO pros in the wider esports ecosystem. Two notable examples are Robin “Fifflaren” Johansson, who spent many years working for Twitch after his exit from the competitive scene, while Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey took on the role of Director of Esports Franchise Development and Outreach at Counter-Logic Gaming after her retirement from the scene.
Sometimes, the grass is greener on the other side
In recent years, the prominence of esports have risen significantly due to higher viewership and participation in emerging game titles and genres. The prize money has grown in proportion to the success of the game title. With the massive popularity of battle royale games like PUBG and Fortnite, the prize money is comparable, if not more than CSGO Majors. However, since CSGO players are used to playing the First Person Shooter genre for their entire career in the esports arena, not many players have hopped onto these games.
Instead, a growing number of existing and former CSGO players from all parts of the world have found Riot Games’ Valorant as a renewed opportunity to be involved in the competitive scene. Some notable figures in the CSGO scene who have decided to hop onto the rival game include the Swedish player Jacob “pyth” Mourujärvi, mixwell and ScreaM. They have been playing in various Valorant tournaments and many industry mouthpieces are speculating if their future will remain in CSGO, as the rival game grows in popularity over the next couple of years.
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In fact, Riot Games have found their breakout fame through League of Legends, which is one of the most popular multiplayer online battle arena games in the world and is undeniably one of the largest esports game titles. Adding on to the perceived lack of opportunity and better salaries for both existing and former CSGO pros, Riot’s venture into the First Person Shooter genre with Valorant is something that cannot be ignored by industry leaders. Hence, many CSGO organisations are hoping to be in favorable positions early by investing in the formation of the Valorant pro team with CSGO pros.
While Valorant’s ability to overtake CSGO remains to be seen, the mechanism and strategy involved in playing Valorant is largely similar to CSGO, making it an ideal game for former CSGO players to make that bold move to the new unknown.
How the future will unfold for CSGO Pros
The CSGO competitive scene is dynamic in the sense that it moves quickly, and radical changes can occur in a matter of days or weeks. Just like other competitive sports, the winning team of yesteryears may not enjoy its top spot forever. Other competitive CSGO teams will have an equal chance at becoming the next Major winner since the lineup for most teams are bound to change due to various reasons such as the retirement of capable and highly respected CSGO pros. In short, there is no guaranteed path for CS:GO pros who are looking to retire.
Luckily for them, however, they have become established pillars in the CSGO ecosystem as they were prodigies that deliver exceptional results and performance to millions of audiences worldwide.
Upon their decision to retire, they will be able to continue supporting the space, ergo opportunities are aplenty of them since the skills and knowledge that they have acquired over the years are indispensable to the industry. Those who are passionate about CSGO are likely to find new roles within the competitive scene as coaches, match analysts and even take up crucial roles in the gaming industry. Others with entrepreneurial mindsets may seek new opportunities such as leveraging the lucrative CSGO skins economy with a CSGO skins marketplace, providing CSGO players a way to sell their CSGO skins in a safe and secure online environment.