Valve raises Counter-Strike eSports prize to $1 million

Every CS: GO Major Championship event in 2016 will have a 4x bigger prize than last year

Valve has raised the prize pool for Counter-Strike: GO's eSports championship events to $1 million, four times the amount offered only last year.

The first CS: GO Major Championship event to benefit from the new injection of cash is Major League Gaming Columbus, which will be held in Ohio's state capital from March 29 to April 3, 2016. Valve first introduced the CS:GO Major Championship in 2013, and the prize pool was capped at $250,000 only last year.

Now, though, Counter-Strike players will be competing for a share of $1 million at every CS:GO Major Championship event across the year. According to a post on the official Counter-Strike blog, the extra investment was a necessary response to the "incredible rate" at which the professional CS: GO scene has expanded.

"CS:GO tournaments are now among the largest esports events in the world, drawing global audiences of millions of viewers, filling massive venues, and garnering higher prize pools," Valve said in a statement. "Professional CS:GO has grown, and the CS:GO Major Championships are about to grow with it."

Valve has been making bigger and bigger investments in the eSports communities that surround its games. Last year, the company both seeded and nurtured an $18 million prize pool for its official Dota 2 tournament, The International.

The most significant recent activity in this rapidly growing sector is largely from Activision Blizzard, which formed a dedicated eSports division late last year and acquired Major League Gaming to boot. The company raised the Hearthstone World Championship prize pool to $1 million shortly after, up from $250,000 in 2014.

The goal? Annual revenues on a par with, "leagues like the NFL, the Premier League, the NBA, Major League Baseball or NHL."

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By Brendan Sinclair

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