Counter-Strike Dust2: DUST settles on CS:GO India, Check EXCLUSIVE interview of HLTV CEO on GRAND plans for Indian esports community

Counter-Strike Dust2: DUST settles on Counter-Strike India, Check EXCLUSIVE interview of HLTV CEO Martin Rosenbaek on GRAND plans for India CS:GO community

Counter-Strike Dust2: It would not be wrong to say India is a sleeping giant in esports. With cheaper data packs and cell phones, India has already cracked the code in mobile gaming. But not so in PC gaming. Let alone the extravagant pricing of hardware in the country, the price of games makes it difficult in India. However, with CS:GO, things are different. The massively popular first-person shooter game does not need premium hardware and that is where HLTV sees an opportunity to guide Indian gamers to stardom. With the launch of Dust2, the latest map in CS:GO, HLTV CEO Martin Rosenbaek is eying a resurgence in the Indian gaming community. Follow esports Updates on

But first, what is HLTV? – Not many publications report exclusively on esports, let alone Counter-Strike. That is where HLTV comes in. It is the go-to place for all information, and gaming lobbies on CS:GO with over 36 million views per month. Founded by Martin Rosenbaek and Per Lambaek in 2002, HLTV provides a platform to the CS:GO community. With the Dust2 launch in India, it is set to embark on a new journey.      

“Back in the day, 20 years ago, there wasn’t much access, and the fans had no clue where to watch the CS:GO matches. This is where we found an opportunity. When I wasn’t skilled enough to be a part of CS:GO as a player, I had to find another role in the community. That is where HLTV was born and came into existence,” Martin Rosenbaek told InsideSport in an exclusive interview. 

Also Read: Top five Indian gamers making waves in content creation via engaging gameplay

Counter-Strike Dust2: DUST settles on Counter-Strike India, Check EXCLUSIVE interview of HLTV CEO Martin Rosenbaek on GRAND plans for India CS:GO community
HLTV founders Martin Rosenbaek (L) and Per Lambaek at an award function

But how is HLTV going to help the Indian gaming community? Well, let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth. Here are excerpts from Martin Rosenbaek interview with Abhijit Singh Bhambra, Output Editor at InsideSport.

On launch of Dust2 in India and new tournaments:

On Dust2 origin, what happens is that HLTV has reached a point where the whole system is automated, with some excellent minds working for us. We decided to go and work on the grassroots of Counter-Strike in different areas. Instead of going to other games, our focus is on the grassroots and helping Counter-Strike grow and make new fans. We aim to achieve the same in Brazil and in India, where we have launched a fresh tournament as well.

Expectations in India and beyond:

I expect a huge number of CS:GO fans to gather behind Dust2 in India. We are looking for steady growth, month-by-month and then year-by-year. As the popularity of Counter-Strike rises, one can see the numbers of these websites also shoot up. Most likely, after this summer, we will have Counter-Strike 2 introduced. We expect a huge bump with the launch. 

Why India though?

India has a huge market and massive potential when it comes to esports. I do know that India is struggling a bit when it comes to Counter-Strike. So, we hope that we will create a platform where everyone who follows the Counter-Strike in India and participates in it can meet. 

For the greater good of Counter-Strike, if we can help India be better, the viewership will automatically take care of itself. As the number of tournaments increases, it will benefit everyone in the community, which is always important for HLTV. 

Unique challenges of esports in India:

What we are looking at in India is for different sports to coexist. There is enough space for everyone, I guess. There is, of course, an age gap issue that needs to be addressed here. People of certain ages do not recognize esports as a sport.

Right now, Counter-Strike is played at a professional and competitive level. It is a new thing. What we see in Denmark is that younger generations have shown an interest in Counter-Strike games. Close to three generations are playing Counter-Strike in Denmark. I am hoping to see the same thing in India one day, where the game turns into a generational affair, in the years to come. 

Esports are here to stay. It has also gotten on the Olympic program. Maybe we need to wait and watch the results from India. From my experiences, I haven’t met or seen anyone who hasn’t been impressed with CS:GO. However, I do understand that if you haven’t seen or experienced it before, there is a hell of a difference. Esports as a sport is difficult. When you experience it, you will understand it better.

Counter-Strike Dust2: DUST settles on Counter-Strike India, Check EXCLUSIVE interview of HLTV CEO Martin Rosenbaek on GRAND plans for India CS:GO community
Team Wolves was the only Indian team to appear in CS:GO major at ESL One Cologne 2014

On developing the Indian CS:GO community further:

We want to gather all fans of Counter-Strike in India. Our focus will be on the best teams in India and then below that. We will follow the best Indian Counter-Strike players so that people get to know about the performers behind the money.

We want to put together the fans and then push CS:GO tournaments and leagues. We will introduce the ranking of all the best Indian teams and individual players. 

What the Indian fans can expect from us is that anything relevant that is happening in and around CS:GO in the country will be covered by us. The players can expect to be treated like professional athletes by us. 

On India recovering from CS:GO cheating scandal in 2018:

Context: Counter-Strike hit a scandal in India back in 2018 when Nikhil Kumawat, a member of OpTic Gaming’s CS:GO team was banned for cheating during eXTREMESLAND Asia Finals. That hit India badly on the CS:GO front.

Yes, I do recall that incident, which kind of set everything back in India. However, all I can say is that good things were in motion back then. All I want from everyone is to pick themselves up and move forward. One incident cannot and should not define the future of Counter-Strike in India. Things were moving in the right direction before this ban happened. It was kind of a setback. Now, it is an opportunity for the world to witness that Indian CS:GO capacities are much more than that one unfortunate incident.

Any message for CS:GO fans in India?

I am super excited and looking forward to my first trip to India later this year. I hope to see all the CS:GO fans on our website, for sure. I hope everyone will support it and also drop in a few comments. The people in India can come out and support a team, play and build a team. They should find a team to play for and a team to support in India. The fans can also read the news and help develop the CS:GO community, and I am looking forward to a positive response.

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