Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will have a launch in China in less than 24 hours. Though the game is technically accessible there already, in the sense that it can be downloaded, this release would include official distribution and support, including servers to play on and possibly translation (though that’s still unclear).
In which other games can you shoot people? Why, in the best FPS games on PC, of course.
You can count down the seconds here. The launch will be handled by Perfect World, a Chinese videogames company specialising in MMOs. They’ve already partnered with Valve on distributing Dota 2 in China, and organising its Shanghai Major in 2016.
We reached out to Daniel Ahmad, an analyst at Niko Partners who specialises in the Asian market, for his thoughts on CS:GO's chances in China.
He pointed out that, while Counter-Strike has been around in China for years, it has always been overshadowed by Crossfire - a very similar game that’s popular across Asia. “The game has a large audience on PC and the addition of a mobile version has grown that audience,” says Ahmad. “Crossfire will receive a sequel and a movie soon.”
With Perfect World’s official release of CS:GO finally offering official local servers, Ahmad expects interest to increase and a fresh batch of players to pour in.
“Chinese eSports teams have already invested in Counter-Strike eSports and it has been growing in popularity,” says Ahmad. “However, viewership and talent is still missing. With the release this month, Perfect World will be bringing back Counter Strike into the spotlight and aiming to bring in both a new and nostalgic audience, grow the eSports scene and compete with the behemoth that is Crossfire.”
Some Redditors have speculated that CS:GO’s official Chinese release will force Valve to announce the exact drop rates for the game’s loot boxes in accordance with a law recently passed there. However, that law doesn’t come into effect until May 1, so games like CS:GO, Overwatch and others still have some time to comply.
Ahmad does seem to think that we’ll get those drop rates after May 1, however, as “companies don’t have a huge amount of choice when it comes to following these regulations” and “China is too big a market to ignore”. It's possible, depending on the game, that developers would change the odds for loot boxes in China, “but in general I wouldn't expect many changes”, says Ahmad.