On the 15th March, Valve announced that Krakow will be the next city to host a CS:GO Major. This is quite a rare accolade, with its predecessors being Cologne, Katowice, Cluj-Napoca, Jönköping, Columbus and Atlanta. The company entrusted with hosting such a prestigious event is PGL, who have previously collaborated with Valve for DotA 2 majors, including TI6, and have previous experience hosting CS:GO events for companies such as Dreamhack.
The prize pool for PGL Krakow will again be $1,000,000 which is a bit of a disappointment since the money on offer has been stagnant for the last 3 majors too. I expected to see Valve pull out all the stops and finally introduce a crowdfunded prize pool through the sale of stickers and team sprays. This would bring many benefits to the pros, the viewership and the game in general. More people would likely buy the stickers if it was contributing to tournament winnings and even if Valve split the money 25%-75% as they do in DotA then they would have a lot more money to develop the game with. Unless there is some unknown reason not taken into account, having a crowd-funded prize pool seems like a beneficial situation for all involved.
Despite this, PGL have a rather immaculate record in recent times when it comes to hosting large-scale events. They have repeatedly impressed the DotA community starting in Manila, and now Krakow beckons from the 26th-23rd July.
The invited teams are the ‘legends’ from Atlanta: Astralis, VP, SK, Fnatic, Natus Vincere, Gambit, Faze and North. The final 8 teams will qualify through the regional minor system as has been the case in previous majors. The teams who failed to make it out of the group stages in Atlanta do get invited to the offline qualifiers directly, however.
The major comes as a blow to ESL, who no doubt were interested in having Cologne retain major status for the fourth year in a row but as a wise man once said: “All good things must come to an end”. ESL Cologne will still take place this year, though maybe it won’t be quite such a prestigious tournament.