CS: GO enters a new dawn of gaming as two of its most prominent organizers, ESL and FACEIT, merge under a single banner. The deal, which awaits regulatory approval, is expected to close in Q2 2022 and will confirm Savvy Gaming Group's (SGG) acquisition of both the companies for a reported total of $1.5 billion.
SGG is a gaming and esports organization owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. They are famous for their recent purchase of Newcastle United, a football club in the English Premier League.
Headed by Brian Ward of former Activision fame, SGG emerged in 2021 with plans to "Level Up The Playing Field".
Upon acquisition, both companies will merge to form the ESL FACEIT Group, with the aim of creating the "world's leading competitive gaming platform". Despite the merger, the two companies will maintain their leadership teams, with Craig Levine of ESL and Niccolo Maisto of FACEIT authorized as co-CEOs.
ESL FACEIT Group aims to improve level of competition in CS: GO
ESL and FACEIT are two of the biggest household names in CS: GO. ESL has partnered with Valve for ESL One, the ESL Pro League, and the Intel Extreme Masters and has opened up several opportunities for CS: GO's rising stars.
Similarly, FACEIT is an online gaming platform that has had a significant impact on the growth of CS: GO over the years.
The newly formed ESL FACEIT Group lists three long-term initiatives that are pivotal to the company's sustainment.
- Developing strong coaching and learning programs at the amateur level while broadcasting professional esports to the global audience.
- The company aims to blend online play with amateur and professional LAN events to support gamers from more regions and develop grassroots play.
- Development of server infrastructure, tournament tools, and anti-cheat solutions across several different games to level the playing field.
While the organization has its long-term initiatives planned out, it is hard at work completing its immediate objectives. The ESL FACEIT Group plans on enhancing the CS: GO ecosystem with the help of its new investor.
Efforts to combat cheating
By combining the resources of ESL and FACEIT, SGG can work towards the evolution of an anti-cheat system that can maintain the competitive integrity of the game across all platforms, be it online events, LAN tournaments, or casual pugs.
According to ESL FACEIT Group's official statement, eviction of cheaters from CS: GO will remain a top priority in the newly established company, with the anti-cheat technology being free for everyone.
Revitalize North American CS: GO
ESL FACEIT Group wishes to revive the fading Counter-Strike scene in North America. Rosters from the region have failed to find success over the last two years, with European teams taking over the reins in global tournaments.
According to the Louvre agreement signed by EPL partner teams, special incentives exist for organizations interested in signing North American rosters. This is expected to shine a light on the hidden talent within the region while creating a more competitive environment for the existing player base.
The individual resources of ESL and FACEIT will be combined to improve the management of online tournaments and the degree of communication with teams and players, with the company's initial focus being on the North American region.
Although the growth of the North American scene takes priority, one of ESL FACEIT Group's ultimate goals is to enrich the global esports scene and provide ample opportunities to teams and players all over the world.
Over the past year, both have contributed their tools and infrastructure to the functioning of over 3000 tournament organizers.
The CS: GO community's passion for developing the game's ecosystem is what drives ESL FACEIT Group to increase its investment in the game.
The ESL FACEIT Group has set aside a $100,000 prize pool that local organizers from various parts of the world can use.
Additionally, they plan to expand the Cash Cups on the ESEA platform, which will see regions of South America, Asia, Oceania, and South Africa feature bi-monthly tournaments with a cash prize of $1000. These events will have a yearly reserve of $100,000.
GGFORALL, ESL's first women's circuit in CS: GO, is set to embark on its inaugural edition for North American and European teams. Since the merger, ESL FACEIT Group has confirmed the program's expansion to South America, with details on participation for South Africa and Oceania releasing in the coming days.
Improve player's journey to pro CS: GO
ESL FACEIT Group aims to improve the gamer's path to professional CS: GO by expanding FPL to various other regions, with an increased influx of resources in the form of monthly stipends, professional coaching, and hardware support.
With ESL and FACEIT merging into a single entity, talented young players from FPL can earn an invite for the ESL's esports events. Invited players get the chance to meet participating teams and gamers and even be featured for interviews.
The company plans on lending its support to various ESL Pro League teams to set up new scouting and development programs. These programs aid in developing young players into esports athletes.
CS: GO enthusiasts will be able to avail rewards for watching matches on official channels and those of co-streamers.
Viewers will receive FACEIT point drops by watching tournaments on Twitch, starting with the IEM Katowice in February 2022. Future ESL live-streamed events are also expected to carry similar features.
Information regarding ESL FACEIT Group's co-streamers has not yet been revealed but is expected to carry FACEIT drops similar to official channels.