Following a dramatic ESL One New York that saw over 400,000 people tune in to watch Evil Geniuses win on home soil, a debate has been sparked about whether the names of the teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive should change.
For its long lifetime, CS:GO has always had two competing teams in every match: the Terrorists and the Counter-Terrorists. However, many now want to see the names of the teams change, with one prominent caster claiming he has already seen multiple sponsorship and business opportunities fall through due to the potential partners not liking the term ‘terrorist’.
Anders Blume, one of the most recognisable voices of nearly every major CS:GO event, joined the debate on Twitter yesterday to suggest that the connotations of the term ‘terrorist’ are stunting the growth of the esport, claiming that he had been been “softly” referring to teams as ‘offense’ and ‘defense’ for around six months.
After a poll was posted by ESL’s Vice President of Pro Gaming, Michal Blicharz, that showed 68% of those who answered wanted team names to stay as Ts and CTs, Blume decided to share a short thread, outlining his opinions towards a name change.
In it, he conceded that he did not want CS:GO to end up with “toy guns” in an attempt to completely sanitise the game, but did see the potential in changing team names to Offense and Defense.
I don’t want this thing to end up with toy guns and people leaning over instead of being shot, because I think that does break the immersion too much. But in some ways defense and offense are actually better terms anyway because they explain what’s really happening to newcomers..
— Anders Blume (@OnFireAnders) September 30, 2019
A similar sentiment was echoed by fellow caster Jason ‘Moses’ O’Toole, who agreed he had also began to stop saying ‘terrorist’ in broadcasts but didn’t think a name change would be enough to attract more investors, as is evident from this exchange with Fnatics Head of Events:
Yeah I know it would help to a degree but where do we stop if they’re also turned off by blood and bomb planting ;/
— Jason O’Toole (@OnFireMoses) September 30, 2019
He also warned about the prospect of sanitising CS:GO with these tongue-and-cheek comments in a conversation with Astralis’ Nicolai ‘dev1ce’ Reedtz:
It does appear that the issue of attracting sponsors and being appealing to a wider audience could become a big stumbling block for the growth of CS:GO.
However, it’ll take more than removing just one word to change the attitudes of those investors and sponsors. The entire premise, context and cosmetic look of the game would have to change, and if that happens the game faces losing core fans and becoming embroiled in an identity crisis.