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Counter-Strike Logo.png
The Counter-Strike series logo.
Genre(s)First-person shooter
First releaseCounter-Strike
November 9, 2000
Latest releaseCounter-Strike: Global Offensive
August 21, 2012

Counter-Strike (CS) is a series of multiplayer first-person shooter video games, in which teams of terrorists battle to perpetrate an act of terror (bombing, hostage-taking, assassination) and counter-terrorists try to prevent it (bomb defusal, hostage rescue). The series began on Windows in 1999 with the first game, Counter-Strike. It was initially released as a modification ("mod") for Half-Life and designed by Minh "Gooseman" Le and Jess "Cliffe" Cliffe before the rights to the game's intellectual property were acquired by Valve Corporation, the developers of Half-Life.

That original game was followed by Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, developed by Turtle Rock Studios and released in 2004. In November of that year, Counter-Strike: Source was released by Valve. Released eight months after Condition Zero, Source was a remake of the original Counter-Strike and the first in the series to run on Valve's newly created Source engine.[1] The fourth game in the main series, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, was released by Valve in 2012 for Windows, OS X, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Hidden Path Entertainment, who worked on Counter-Strike: Source post-release, helped to develop the game alongside Valve.[2]

There have been several community-made spin-off titles created over the years. These include the Online series, Neo, and Nexon: Zombies.


Counter-Strike is an objective-based, multiplayer first-person shooter. Two opposing teams—the Terrorists and the Counter Terrorists—compete in game modes to complete objectives, such as securing a location to plant or defuse a bomb and rescuing or guarding hostages.[3][4] At the end of each round, players are rewarded based on their individual performance with in-game currency to spend on more powerful weapons in subsequent rounds. Winning rounds results in more money than losing, and completing objectives such as killing enemy players gives cash bonuses.[3] Uncooperative actions, such as killing teammates, results in a penalty.[5]

Main series

Timeline of release years
2004Counter-Strike: Condition Zero
Counter-Strike: Source
Counter-Strike Neo
2007Counter-Strike Online
2012Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
2013Counter-Strike Online 2
2014Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies


Originally a modification for Half-Life, the rights to Counter-Strike, as well as the developers working on it, were acquired by Valve Corporation in 2000.

The game received a port to Xbox in 2003.[6] It was also ported to OS X and Linux in the form of a beta in January 2013. A full release was published in April 2013.[7][8]

Condition Zero

Counter-Strike was followed-up with Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, developed by Turtle Rock Studios and released in 2004. It used the Half-Life GoldSrc engine, similar to its predecessor. Besides the multiplayer mode, it also included a single-player mode with a "full" campaign and bonus levels. The game received mixed reviews in contrast to its predecessor and was quickly followed with a further entry to the series titled Counter-Strike: Source.[9]


Counter-Strike: Source was the first publicly released game by Valve Corporation to run on the Source engine. Counter-Strike: Source was initially released as a beta to members of the Valve Cyber Café Program on August 11, 2004.[1][10] On August 18, 2004, the beta was released to owners of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and those who had received a Half-Life 2 voucher bundled with some ATI Radeon video cards.[11] While the original release only included a version for Microsoft Windows, the game eventually received a port to OS X on June 23, 2010 with a Linux port afterwards in 2013.[12][13]

Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was the fourth release in the main, Valve-developed Counter-Strike series in 2012. Much like Counter-Strike: Source the game runs on the Source engine. It is available on Microsoft Windows, OSX, and Linux, as well as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, and is backwards compatible on the Xbox One console.

Spin-off titles


A Japanese arcade adaptation of Counter-Strike, the original Half-Life multiplayer modification. It is published by Namco, and runs on a Linux system.[14] The game involves anime-designed characters in a futuristic designed version of Counter-Strike. A selection of single-player missions, mini-games, and seasonal events were added to prolong the game's interest with players.[15]

Online series

Counter-Strike Online is a free-to-play spin-off available in much of eastern Asia. It was developed by Nexon, with oversight from Valve Corporation. It uses a micropayment model that is managed by a custom version of the Steam back-end.[16] Announced in 2012 and aimed at the Asian gaming market, a sequel titled Counter-Strike Online 2 was developed by Nexon on the Source game engine, and released in 2013.[17]

Nexon: Zombies

In August 2014, Nexon announced Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies, a free-to-play, zombie-themed spin-off,[18] developed on the GoldSrc game engine.[19] On September 23, 2014, an open beta was released on Steam.[20] The game launched on October 7, 2014, featuring 50 maps and 20 game modes.[21] The game features both player versus player modes such as team deathmatch, hostage rescue, bomb defusal, and player versus environment modes such as cooperative campaign missions and base defending.[22] Reception from critics was generally negative with criticism aimed at the game's poor user interface, microtransactions,[22] and dated graphics.[19]


As of August 2011, the Counter-Strike franchise has sold over 25 million units.[23]


  1. ^ a b "Counter-Strike: Source beta begins". GameSpot. CNET Networks. August 11, 2004. Retrieved July 1, 2008.
  2. ^ "VALVE ANNOUNCES COUNTER-STRIKE: GLOBAL OFFENSIVE (CS: GO)". Steam. Valve Corporation. August 12, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Pinsof, Allistair (August 24, 2012). "Review: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive". Destructoid. Archived from the original on January 1, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  4. ^ Owen, Phil (August 31, 2012). "GAME BYTES: 'Counter-Strike' Lackluster". The Tuscaloosa News. New Media Investment Group. Retrieved February 7, 2017 – via Questia.
  5. ^ "Money system in CS:GO explained". Natus Vincere. Archived from the original on January 2, 2017. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  6. ^ Fahey, Rob (June 6, 2003). "E3 2003: Counter-Strike". Eurogamer. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  7. ^ "Counter-Strike 1.6 Beta released". Steam. Valve Corporation. January 28, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  8. ^ "Counter-Strike 1.6 update released". Steam. Valve Corporation. April 1, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  9. ^ "Counter-Strike: Condition Zero for PC Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Retrieved November 20, 2012.
  10. ^ "Counter-Strike: Source update history". Valve Corporation. Retrieved July 1, 2008.
  11. ^ "Counter-Strike: Source Strike ATI Customer". Advanced Micro Devices. Archived from the original on April 9, 2010. Retrieved July 1, 2008."Counter Strike: Source ATI customer". December 2014.
  12. ^ "Counter-Strike: Source Update Released". Steam. Valve Corporation. Retrieved June 23, 2010.
  13. ^ Dawe, Liam (February 5, 2013). "Counter Strike Source Has Been Added To The CDR And Apparently Installable Too". GamingOnLinux. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  14. ^ Niizumi, Hirohiko (September 27, 2004). "Nvidia partners with Namco". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  15. ^ Waugh, Eric-Jon (March 27, 2006). "GDC: The Localization of Counter-Strike in Japan". Gamasutra. UBM plc. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  16. ^ "Q&A: Valve Explains Why PC Gaming's Gaining Steam". Gamasutra. March 6, 2008. Retrieved March 6, 2008.
  17. ^ Mallory, Jordan (April 6, 2012). "Nexon, Valve announce Counter-Strike Online 2 for Asian territories". Joystiq. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
  18. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (August 7, 2014). "Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies heads to Steam". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  19. ^ a b Köhler, Stefan (October 26, 2014). "Tod durch Untote" [Death by Undead]. GameStar (in German). p. 2. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  20. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (September 23, 2014). "Here's a (very) quick look at Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  21. ^ Prescott, Shaun (October 7, 2014). "Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies ambles onto Steam today". PC Gamer. Future Publishing. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  22. ^ a b O'Connor, Alice (September 25, 2014). "Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies Shambles Into Open Beta". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  23. ^ Makuch, Eddie (August 12, 2011). "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive firing up early 2012". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc. Archived from the original on March 16, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2011.