The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive community has been rocked after a series of controversial events, including backlash to item trading changes and the use of a racial slur by a major commentator. The game is one of Valve's most popular titles, consistently high in the Steam concurrent user charts even though recent multiplayer shooter distractions have been found in the form of games such as PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite.
Nonetheless, this latest iteration of Counter-Strike has not been without its issues over the years, and one noticeable problem is the use of item trading. Trading in CS: GO is effectively a mini-economy in its own right, with some players cashing in on earned skins for big payoffs, while there are ongoing concerns over the use of skins as a virtual currency for online gambling. Eventually, Valve decided enough was enough and has implemented changes, with a recently-traded item now stuck in a seven day cool down before it can be moved on again.
This, however, has led to some major complaints from some members of the CS:GO community. As a matter of fact, a change.org petition has even started up, and in a very short amount of time has managed to accumulate 120,000 signatures from Counter-Strike players who want to see Valve revert back to the old way that trading worked in the shooter. "This update not only kills trading in a sense, but also will kill our beloved CS:GO if it remains effective," states the petition.
The use of item trading in CS:GO has always been something of a shady ground for Valve, and sometimes the grey areas of how it functions have been manipulated and taken advantage of by prominent CS:GO players and YouTubers. As such, it was only a matter of time before Valve acted on the matter, particularly given CS:GO's place in the larger discussion around how deep loot box problems go in the industry, but the company may have wanted to act a little quicker, and perhaps in a way that didn't cause such a backlash from players.
Unfortunately for Valve, this wasn't the only problem with CS:GO that reared its head recently. Counter-Strike eSports commentator Matthew 'Sadokist' Trivett used a racial slur during a livestream of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, before going on to suggest that CS:GO community member Don Haci commit suicide. Although Trivett eventually apologised for his actions via a Facebook post, he has nonetheless been suspended from Twitch and it remains to be seen if there will be further ramifications.
Valve is no stranger to fallout, such as ongoing complaints over Steam's quality control, the paid mods controversy or the reaction of fans to new game Artifact, but this number of issues relating to one of its most popular franchises in such a short amount of time will no doubt require action. If Valve is serious about getting back into game development, then it will also want to make sure that it does so in a timely manner.