Twitch deepens ties to Counter-Strike with big signings
Twitch is making a sweeping effort to solidify its platform as a central hub for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
The announcement made reference to competing organizations jumping ship “for a quick buck.” This likely refers to CEVO, the second of the two big Counter-Strike leagues based in North America. CEVO recently expanded to include European competition with a live final featuring both European and North American teams, and along the way partnered with Major League Gaming to stream its contests on MLG's streaming platform.
Twitch and ESEA's deal ensures that at least one of the major North American Counter-Strike leagues will remain on Twitch. But there was more Counter-Strike news to come from the streaming giant.
Former Ninjas in Pyjamas player Robin “Fifflaren” Johansson, who has made a successful transition to a role as caster and analyst over the past several months, took to Twitter to tease fans with a picture of himself and former Cloud9 player Spencer “Hiko” Martin.The reason behind the meeting was made clear today, when a report on HLTV.org revealed that Twitch had hired the pair of players to work with the site as ambassadors to the Counter-Strike community.
This isn’t the first time Twitch has made such a hire. Popular fighting game competitor Mike Ross joined Twitch in the same position to help promote the streaming platform in the fighting game community.
The hire did cause some fans to raise questions about Martin's future. Unlike Johansson, he hasn't retired from active competition, and he's been without a team since Valve banned iBUYPOWER’s core players in a match-fixing scandal. Martin has spoken of finding a new team to compete with before the next Counter-Strike major, and he took to social media to assure fans those plans wouldn’t change in spite of his new deal with Twitch.
All told, the moves solidify Twitch’s commitment to Counter-Strike and make clear that the world’s most popular streaming platform in gaming won’t be resting on their popularity to stave off competitors seeking to lure away users.
Illustration by Max Fleishman