Beyond the Game: A Look Ahead To the 2018 Major Cycle

This article is part of our Beyond the Game series.

For the second year in a row, Valve has only sponsored two Majors within the year, with ELEAGUE and PGL getting the bids this time around.

Since the first ever Major to be hosted in North America in 2016 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, Valve continues a trend of hosting one Major every six months. This means that the 12th Major in Counter-Strike history will happen as early as January-February of 2018, according to a report from HLTV. The reports also mention that Valve has asked multiple tournaments organizers to submit proposals for the next Major, including the front runners of ESL, ELEAGUE, DreamHack, StarLadder, and PGL. Not mentioned as a possible choice was MLG, who seems to have vacated the CS:GO scene in a big way.

Criticism, Criticism, Criticism

With the the next Major set to hit in early 2018, Valve is now being enamoured with speculation as to how the next Majors will proceed. Between the map veto change kicking in just five days before the PGL Major to the Swiss group stage format to the plethora of network issues that took place in Krakow, Valve has received heavy criticism regarding the poor management and organization of the Majors.

One question that certainly looms quite large centers around the aforementioned veto changes and Swiss format. It is unknown at this time if these changes and formats will extend to all future Majors. Plenty of chatter from both sides of the equation has been levied during and after the Major, giving Valve plenty to think about over the next few months.

Money, Money, Money

The prize pool for the Majors have been set at $1 million for the past two years without a mention of an increase directly from Valve. Members of the community, however, have questioned Valve about the possibilities of an increase in 2018, suggesting a small increase to just $1.5 million.

Along the lines of prize money, there has also been discussions from players on the concept of a crowdfunded Major much like The International for Dota 2 -- also run by Valve -- which has a gross of over 20million dollars in recent years.

However, the process of gathering the funding seems to be much harder than it seems as Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert mentioned above as questions loom on how exactly the Majors would be funded. If Valve were to allow crowdfunding, the same process from Dota 2 market transactions could be a key part in the growth of the overall prize pot as well as tournament organizers pitching-in to increase the value. This could also lead to a new market in advertisements and major sponsorships to help support the Majors in North America and Europe to push CS:GO to new heights on the mainstream level.

Location, Location, Location

While it seems that Valve will also follow their ritual of having both North America and Europe host one Major each, the question of venue is still a wide open one. Where exactly in each country the Major will take place likely will be determined by which organization secures the Major bid.

Locations in North America while varied, can be narrowed down to a choice few. Should ELEAGUE secure the bid again, the Major would obviously take place in Atlanta at the ELEAGUE studio. Should ESL or DreamHack secure a bid, they could choose locations such as Las Vegas or Oakland that have seen large turnouts to events in the past.

When it comes to Europe, things are much more broad. There’s always the possibility of a return to Cologne for the July Major next year. Not to mention the plenty of prime locations in France and across England. The possibilities are pretty much endless. It will be interesting to see where this one ends up next year.


Neither tournament organizers or Valve have provided information regarding what could potentially change with the upcoming Majors. As for now, the brainstorming will begin as tournament organizers approach the end of the year with plenty of time to give the community what they deserve.

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