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Biggest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament finals are live right now

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Biggest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament finals are live right now

There’s a really big Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament going on right now. It’s the finals of the 2014 EMS One Katowice CS:GO Championship, and it’s the biggest ESL CS:GO tournament ever held. 

Competitors are fighting over a significant $250,000 prize, and the finals kicked off yesterday. 

You can watch the action from day one here, and the Vox Eminor vs. 3DMAX match is live right now, streaming on Twitch. Check it out below.

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Three nights only: final qualifiers for $250k crowdfunded Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament

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Three nights only: final qualifiers for $250k crowdfunded Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament

We are rapidly gaining on EMS One, the Counter-Strike tournament hosted in Katowice, Poland - best pronounced as a TV Batman “KATOW!", followed by a cool-as-you-like “-ice". It’s especially notable this year, not only because Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player numbers are on the rise, but because its sizeable prize pool has been composed entirely from the contents of the holey pockets of those very same players.

The main event is a couple of weeks away still - but six of its 16 team slots have yet to be filled. That’s what this evening’s European qualifiers are all about.

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Friendly fire: Valve launch Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's third community map initiative - Operation Phoenix

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Friendly fire: Valve launch Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's third community map initiative - Operation Phoenix

The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive community have spent the past few weeks - well, they’ve spent it shooting, haven’t they. But in between trigger squeezes, they’ve voted on the best maps from the last two Operations - limited-period initiatives in which players have been able to pay a small fee to play community-made maps on low-ping Valve servers.

They’ve pieced together eight favourites - now playable on official servers for the next few months of Operation Phoenix.

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Gabe takes to Reddit to clear up Valve Anti-Cheat rumours; "Do we send your browsing history to Valve? No."

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Gabe takes to Reddit to clear up Valve Anti-Cheat rumours; "Do we send your browsing history to Valve? No."

Valve Anti-Cheat is the software first developed for Counter-Strike and used in at least 60 other Steam games. It does not and never has sent your browsing history to Valve so that they can peruse your favourite porn sites.

That was the worry of some concerned Redditors, who suspected that VAC transmitted DNS cache information - i.e. the IP addresses you’ve visited - to the company to determine who’s cheating and who’s not. As users began to list potential uses of DNS information for far greater nefarity, our lord and saviour Gabe Newell made a rare public address to counter the claims.

“Do we care what porn sites you visit?," he wrote. “Oh, dear god, no. My brain just melted."

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How Gfinity are trying to level-up UK eSports

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How Gfinity are trying to level-up UK eSports

The UK is not generally known as a major eSports hub, but the young Gfinity eSports company are hoping to change that with an ambitious set of eSports events in 2014 and regular broadcasting to go with it. While Gfinity have mostly worked with Call of Duty in the past, they’re now getting into the broader eSports market with Dota 2, Counter-Strike, FIFA, and StarCraft 2.

We talked with Gfinity’s COO Paul Kent about who Gfinity are, why they’re trying to make the UK an eSports hub, and how they’re going to succeed.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive goes teenage: updated with underarm throws and stickers

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive goes teenage: updated with underarm throws and stickers

Leaving the house with an automatic weapon of any sort is usually enough to turn heads - but how do you stand out from the crowd in a scene where every bugger wields a firearm of some kind?

It’s precisely this first-person problem that Valve addressed in yesterday’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive update. CS:GO players will now come across sticker capsule drops as they play. Opened with a dedicated key, each capsule contains one sticker waiting to be slapped on any weapon you own. Repeat the process ad infinitum, and you can cover the surface of your gun like a teenager’s laptop.

There’s plenty more new: including a way to throw grenades that’s simply not cricket.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive had more than two million players this month

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive had more than two million players this month

“CS:GO has been hitting milestones recently," say Valve. The latest iteration of the competitive shooting standard now regularly doubles the player numbers of its parent game on Steam. Early this month it reached 100,000 concurrent players, placing it comfortably within reach of the top most-played games on the service. And during the same period, Global Offensive’s playerbase passed beyond two million unique accounts. Lots.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive community stump up $250,000 prize pool for EMS One Katowice

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive community stump up $250,000 prize pool for EMS One Katowice

One Katowice, two Katowice, three Katowice, four. Five Katowice, six Katowice, seven Katowice - oh, hi gang. You’ve caught me working on my tribute to the apple of southern Poland’s eye, Katowice: former seat of power of the Silesian Piast dynasty, 16th most economically impressive city in the EU, and now host to Counter-Strike’s next major community-supported event.

Though the tournament is sponsored by Intel and Asus, it’s CS:GO players who’ve raised EMS One’s $250,000 prize pool.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Winter update lacks red tinsel, makes up for it with red blood

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Winter update lacks red tinsel, makes up for it with red blood

The Winter Offensive update is green to go in CS:GO, spreading Christmas cheer amongst all good Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists this holiday season. In Valve’s Santa sack this year is absolutely nothing seasonal at all; no maps are getting a snowy makeover, nor are the soldiers in the field getting red-and-white uniforms. Instead there will just be the usual lashings of red bodily fluids, and a few extra care packages filled to the brim with pretty shooters. 

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The best PC games of 2013 - Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

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The best PC games of 2013 - Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Here’s the beauty of Global Offensive: even though I’m extremely late to the Counter-Strike party, for the first time in the series I can jump into a game with a few friends and not get annihilated. The matchmaking works: a remarkable feat in a game where players’ experience can range from a few hours to 20 years. 

Back up: Global Offensive is the first Counter-Strike that I’ve played competitively. By competitively, I mean, in Competitive Matchmaking, of course, not to a respectable level. I understand why this might be off putting to some, though. Counter Strike’s skill ceiling is scarily high. 

But it’s superb. 

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to receive revamped de_cbble and a new map: Overpass

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to receive revamped de_cbble and a new map: Overpass

De_cbble was one of my favourite maps on Counter-Strike: Source. It’s vast open areas made for difficult advances and harried defences. Its tight corridors were killboxes where large groups of players could be killed within seconds. So it’s really good news that Valve are remaking it for Global Offensive.

They’re not simply upping the visuals but also fixing issues with the game’s chokepoints and scale while keeping true to what made the original unique.

Not just that but Valve are making a whole new map, too.

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fnatic win biggest tournament in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive history (plus $100,000)

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fnatic win biggest tournament in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive history (plus $100,000)

The advances made by the new kings of eSports have begun to make life more interesting for its oldest hand, Counter-Strike. The success of Dota 2's International compendium meant the introduction of eSports weapons collections to CS:GO in August, and saw the CS community fund one of the largest cash prize's in the game’s history for DreamHack Winter.

That prize has made fnatic $100,000 richer this weekend.

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Counter Striker: Global Offensive Arms Deal update causes player numbers to go off like mentos and coke

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Counter Striker: Global Offensive Arms Deal update causes player numbers to go off like mentos and coke

August saw Counter-Strike: Global Offensive enter the Valve family portrait alongside Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 as one of its proud cash generators. The Arms Deal update offered weapon skin drops that could be traded on the market, and soon opened up user-created content to the masses of precision shooters that called CS:GO home. 

The Arms Deal update has had quite the impact on Counter-Strike. Imagine the update is some state-of-the art gunpowder, loaded into a cartridge, and used to fire bullets labelled ‘player count’. That’s pretty much the effect weapon drops have had on Global Offensive, with player counts soaring dramatically since the update landed in August. 

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive grows a new Watch menu feature: highlights

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive grows a new Watch menu feature: highlights

This is not the first instance of highlights in a video game - as ever, the Saints Row series seems to have led the industry with its comprehensive hair customisation options - but it is a new thing for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which seems to be getting a lot of new things in preparation for next weekend’s DreamHack Winter.

As of last night, CS:GO players can view their own or others’ highlights from downloaded matches via the in-client Watch menu.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Arms Deal update paves way for Dota 2-like workshop

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