Things are changing at Valve. From 2025 come new rules for CS2 esports that directly affect ESL Pro League and BLAST Premier. But that’s not all. Important modifications also join their other flagship title, DOTA 2, and the top tournament, “The International.”
New rules for CS2 esports as of 2025
Valve, the developer of CS2, has announced the implementation of strict new rules for holding esports events for its game. The new rules will take effect in 2025.
According to information released by Valve, the new regulations will prohibit tournament directors from having unique business relationships and conflicts of interest with the teams participating in their tournaments. Apparently, these new rules want to end the old and dominant model of partnered and semi-franchised teams.
On the other hand, Valve also mentions that each invitation to all tournaments must be based on Valve’s ranking system or use open qualifiers. But that’s not all. In turn, all financial compensation provided to teams competing in tournaments, whether in the form of prizes or other forms of payment, must be public. Objective criteria must govern all payments and must be open to inspection by the community.
As mentioned, the new rules imposed by Valve will take effect in 2025. In this way, tournament organizers can meet their current commitments in the long term.
An update on the future of Counter-Strike esports: https://t.co/WYrYMf7zNZ
— CS2 (@CounterStrike) August 3, 2023
A significant change in CS2 esports
The new regulations bring a significant change to the way Counter-Strike works as esports. Aside from Valve’s standalone events, two semi-franchised esports leagues currently control a large portion of the Counter-Strike esports calendar. Specifically, ESL Gaming controls the ESL Pro League tournaments, and BLAST controls the BLAST Premier tournaments.
These Counter-Strike leagues operate through partner teams; each team must pay for a seat. In this way, they are guaranteed participation in the tournaments. On the other hand, the remaining places for these tournaments are obtained through open qualifiers.
That is why much of the Counter-Strike community is currently in doubt. Right now, there is a great deal of uncertainty about whether or not this model is allowed under Valve’s new rules in their current configuration. This could set the stage for a major reorganization of the CS2 esports model.
Comments on Valve’s new rules for CS2 tournaments
After Valve made public its new rules for CS2 tournaments, ESL FACEIT Group’s senior vice president of gaming ecosystems, Ulrich Schulze, commented as follows:
“ESL has been adjusting its events to carry out the vision Valve shared with us.”
On the other hand, BLAST executives commented that they will inform the entire Counter-Strike community what their plans will be after BLAST Premier 2023 ends.
Undoubtedly, Valve’s esports ecosystem is undergoing an important change. Just over a month ago, the Steam owner also announced changes to its second major esports game, DOTA 2. These changes included abandoning a full crowdfunding strategy for its flagship event, The International. The fact that publisher Valve is finally getting more involved in managing its esports indicates that things are changing.