Who is Shroud, the ex-professional CSGO player?
Shroud, CSGO former professional player from Cloud9, is one of the most popular players who actively streams on Twitch, regularly pulling in more than 40,000 viewers.
Anyone who is familiar with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) live streaming scene would have heard of Shroud. The legendary player was in fact, a former CSGO professional, who joined Cloud9 during this time as a CSGO eSports player. Michael ‘S h r o u d’ Grzesiek is a Canadian player who has made a name for himself through his Twitch Streaming channel.
The popular streamer has briefly moved to Mixer in October 2019, only to return to Twitch after the platform’s demise. Today, he is recognised as the most popular CSGO live streamer on Twitch for his influence in the CSGO space. And there’s a good reason that he is well-respected in the gaming industry.
Shroud is an all-rounder and exceeds many expectations with everything that he does. He seemed to have a mida touch for anything that he was involved in. When CS:GO’s rival Valorant launched their game earlier this year, he was one of the first names to be considered to be included in the lineup of competitive Valorant players. After all, Valorant took many references including gameplay mechanics from the godfather of online multiplayer shooter – CSGO.
Given his timely departure from the CS:GO’s competitive scene, it will be unsurprising if Valorant’s esports team came knocking at his door and seeked to secure him as part of the group. However, despite rumors from multiple sources, it is unlikely that Shroud will be joining Valorant, yet.
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The rise of Shroud
Throughout his early days in the gaming space, Shroud has played a number of games on his Twitch streams, but it is worth noting that he has a profound interest towards Battle Royale and First-Person shooters like CSGO. To date, he has played PUBG, CSGO, Valorant and other popular games from these genres on Twitch. Moreover, he did occasionally play GTA V, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and World of Warcraft as well.
Shrouds definitive moment arrived when he joined Cloud9’s CSGO team back in 2014 and has achieved stellar records while playing for the group such as his major contribution to CLoud9’s win in the Season 4 of the ESL Pro League, beating SK Gaming in the finals, which led him and his group to a handsome prize money of $200,000.
However, due to personal reasons, he decided to leave both Cloud9 and the competitive scene in April 2018, diverting his time back into streaming. Before we delve deeper into his career in 2020, let us take a look at some information of his achievements that he has earned over the years.
Shroud’s lucrative career as a CS:GO Streamer
It is widely believed that Shroud’s net worth is estimated to be about $12 million, according to Forbes. Contrary to popular belief, he actually gained his earning through his Twitch and Mixer streaming careers, with revenue derived from subscribers, donations and sponsored streams. Moreover His YouTube revenue and sponsorship deals also earned him a decent amount of profit over the years.
A conservative estimate would suggest that Shroud has earned roughly a monthly subscription of $80,000 at the peak of his Twitch streaming career, although it could be worthed much more depending on the revenue allocation he had with Twitch. This approximate figure does not include donations and profits made from sponsored advertisements and endorsements. Hence, a more accurate guess of his monthly income could go beyond $100,000 every month.
Last year, Shroud had a brief stint with Mixer, a rival platform of Twitch. The streaming platform was owned by Microsoft and has the financial capacity to convince him to stream on Mixer with a lucrative contract. Although Mixer has closed down this year and he eventually made it back to produce his contents on Twitch, the move has not affected his earnings.
In addition to that, Shroud has an active YouTube channel with almost six million subscribers and close to a billion total video views. Due to the immense following on the channel, he is able to secure a yearly revenue of about $500,000 as well.
Finally, Shroud’s sponsors which include Logitech and J!nx could very well earn him a decent revenue stream that adds to his current net worth.
Shroud’s departure from the competitive scene
With a highly successful career as a gaming content creator, it now makes sense as to why Shroud would have the option to pursue his interest in game streaming. When asked in a recent interview this year, he insisted that he has no immediate plans to return to the competitive scene, despite his insane skills and experience in shooter games.
This year, it seemed that Shroud has a renewed interest in Blizzard’s shooter Overwatch, a game that he has previously not been playing due to his preference for CSGO and other shooter game titles. His viewers are impressed by his performance in Overwatch, and they have asked him once again if he is interested in competitive esports scene again. However, he has once again dismissed any thought of him returning to the competitive gaming scene. He later explained during one of his streams that he could never “see myself going pro again, in anything”, and convinced his viewers that he will instead be a “pro in life – how about that?”, hinting to his fans that he would prefer streaming to esports.
No plans for Valorant either
Riot Game’s Valorant may proved to be a hit when it was launched earlier this year, and it is little wonder that Shroud would go on to try out the game in his Twitch’s stream. Like most game streamers, he took on the game on a casual level that makes his stream enjoyable to watch, even though his Valorant stream has once again proved to the community that he is au naturel in shooter games. Despite the game similarities to CSGO, he has no plans to return to esports either, even if he was offered any contract by Valorant’s group. He believed that by doing so, it would conflict with his streaming career that is built on his personal brand.
However, he did explain that he will be playing Valorant on his streams until a “new game comes out”, and he is convinced that Valorant is potentially a “top-tier esports for a long time”. But given his attachment to CS:GO, he is anticipating Valve’s upgrade of Counter-Strike with the Source 2 engine.
“You already know Valve is planning Source 2 integration when Valorant comes out. I will gladly play Counter-Strike on a brand new engine, that would be so fun,” explained in Shroud Twitter.
Full commitment as a CS:GO pro
As long as Shroud remains as an influential and highly skilled game streamer, he would expect his fans to continue to persuade him into returning to the competitive space. However, he has made a good point about competitive esports in CS:GO, and what is actually required in competitive esports.
Shroud explained that, for someone to dedicate themselves as a competitive player, they must aim to reach the very top and perform on a consistent basis. He used Natus Vincere’s Oleksandr “S1mple” Kostyliev as an example of someone at the very top of CS:GO, and said that Kostyliev is often better than the rest of the pros. But they are, likewise, all basically on the same level. “For a group to win consistently, they need all five players to shine, which is rare in professional competition.”
Despite joining multiple online Valorant closed beta tournaments with other players who’ve decided to go competitive, Shroud is still focused on streaming and playing multiple games, instead of dedicating himself to just one.
Over the past few months, many CS:GO players have made the leap to Valorant from CS:GO, in the hope of earning a better income and to start from scratch. But Shroud has already been a CS:GO pro. He has achieved remarkable results for Cloud9, and if he did play for a Valorant group, the video and channel Twitch Shroud managed would be seriously affected, and that’s where he has to consider giving up his lucrative career as a streamer.
After all, it is rumored that Valorant group members could bring home a monthly income of $25,000, but that’s nothing compared to his $10 million Mixer deal alone, for instance.
Even if, in the least likelihood, Shroud joins Valorant as a competitively and won the finals of Valorant tournaments, the time and effort it takes for him to contribute competitively is definitely not worth it, given the success of his stream. Moreover, he would have to get back into the competitive esports mindset and schedule should he even consider return to becoming a CS:GO or Valorant pro.
Choosing the practical path
At the end of the day, our decision would likely be the same should we be in Shroud’s position as a highly successful game streamer. While he still has that motor-reflexes and ability to stream for his millions of fans worldwide, he could easily make millions out of his streaming career.
Should Shroud return as part of the CS:GO group, he would risk earning way less than he actually could, while costing way more effort to maintain in CS:GO competitively. Furthermore, there is usually a shelf-life as CS:GO players. Should he reach his maximum age limit, or if he is no longer in the right condition to compete for the CS:GO group, he will be forced with just two paths – as an Analyst or a esports team manager. Given his reputation as the most watched streamer, it would make perfect sense to continue his path as a Streamer. Since that is something that he could do for a longer period, while still could earn him a lucrative amount of money.
We understand that this is sad to hear, but it’s just the way it is. It’s much better for Shroud just to run his livestream and enjoy himself, and make far more money than risking his lifestyle as part of a professional CS:GO or Valorant team.