Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the fourth game in the Counter-Strike series. Released in 2014, it’s currently the most-played game on Steam. Fortnite, released in 2017, is a wildly popular Battle-Royale game by Epic Games, and in April 2020 broke the all-time total player record of 350 million registered users.
So, which is better?
Many things about these games, while not directly comparable, are similar in terms of gamer-value. However, there are several things that we can compare, and which do have a definitive winner. [Note: many categories are subjective and based on the opinions and experiences of the writer].
Let’s take a look.
CS:GO and Fortnite are wildly different when it comes to graphics and their appearance: CS:GO is a realistic first-person shooter (FPS) and Fortnite is a cartoonish third-person last-man-standing game designed to appeal to and be suitable for children.
Deciding which one is better depends largely on taste. However, there are a few things to take into consideration, the first being the minimum specs (the system requirements the game needs to run).
|Required Specs||Graphics card: Intel HD 2000|
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
|Graphic card: Intel HD 4000|
Processor: i3-3225 3.3Ghz
|CS:GO’s minimum requirements are much lower than Fortnite’s. However neither bring a hefty price tag for required spec.|
|Terrain detail||Very simplistic and very flat||Though cartoonish, the graphics are clean and visually appealing||Fortnite|
|Character models||Detailed, and you can change the skin on your gun||Highly detailed and customisable||Fortnite|
|Variety||Aside from gun, very low||Different parts of the map, and different blocks have a very different aesthetic||Fortnite|
As you can see, Fortnite requires higher graphic settings and more processing power. CS:GO, perhaps because it came out in 2012 (2014 for Linux), can run on lower settings on a lower-powered device. This extra range makes it accessible to a wider range of people.
This isn’t the full story, however. It’s not just about what devices can play the games, but what the games look like to play. Let’s compare two screenshots:
As you can see, although Fortnite’s style is cartoonish, the resolution is higher and quite fun. Although it’s not as realistic, which some gamers may feel is childish and detracts from the immersion of the game, Fortnite wins on appearance and delivery.
The biggest benefit from CS:GO’s lower system requirements and broader range of systems and platforms it can be played on (Fortnite isn’t available on Lynux). However, that isn’t enough to combat Fortnite’s clean appearance and styling.
CS:GO features two teams: Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists, who have to battle for a goal, be it plant bombs or rescue hostages. In basic principles, it resembles Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, another hugely popular game.
Fortnite, in contrast, is a battle royale game, where each player is in either working solo or in small teams of two or three to survive until the end of the game. As CS:GO resembles Rainbow Six Siege, so Fortnite resembles PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG).
In 2018, CS:GO released a battle royale game-mode called “Danger Zone”, presumably to tap into the battle royale market. With this in mind, CS:GO offers much more to a gamer than Fortnite – or at least, the base game of Fortnite – because there are so many game-modes, all with distinct characteristics.
The player base of CS:GO and Fortnite are once again different. Each game has a very different skill-set which draws a different kind of audience.
While CS:GO has maintained a strong and dedicated fan-base, and still tops the chart of Steam’s most played games, Fortnite leaves it in the dust. As of August 2020, it had a peak concurrent player base of 12.3 million. 12.3 million people were playing it at the same time. In contrast, CS:GO had a peak concurrent player number of just 1.3 million – almost 12 times fewer than Fortnite.
We’re sorry, CS:GO, but there can only be one winner here.
This is difficult (haha) to define because each individual player has their own interpretation of what the ideal difficulty is. A casual player won’t want to grind, and won’t want to feel easily defeated by a challenging game. A competitive player will want a challenge and won’t want to play something that requires little to no skill.
For this article, we’ll consider how accessible the difficult makes the game for most gamers. Fortnite having the largest player-base, and being less challenging, is easier to pick up and play while still being rewarding.
CS:GO has a group of dedicated fans, but the skill ceiling is higher, making it less accessible to casual gamers. For difficulty, therefore, Fortnite has the edge.
CS:GO is notorious for having a toxic community. So much so, in fact, that Valve added a new profanity filter in the in-game chat. Fortnite’s community is equally as destructive.
Which is worse?
This is to an extent subjective, as it largely depends on individual experiences. Online games are notorious for being toxic (such as League of Legends and Call of Duty), but some are more so than others.
One thing that gives Fortnite the edge when it comes to being more toxic, however, are the emotes. They openly allow players to mock each other in-game, and as the emotes have become integrated in social media, it has leeched beyond the game.
Everyone’s experience with these games may differ, but the emotes and enormous internet presence of Fortnite gives CS:GO the title of best community for this one.
When CS:GO, it was a game you had to buy. Fortnite Battle Royale, in comparison, was free on release.
However, in 2018, CS:GO transitioned to a free-to-play model. Both Fortnite and CS:GO get revenue from skins and both games have limited-edition or restricted skins, so players are more likely to impulse-buy.
The price of skins for both games varies, but CS:GO has the most expensive skin at a whopping $969.77 for its Specialist Gloves Emerald Web, found here.
It’s possible to play both games for free, but if you want to resist the lures of buying special skins, you’ll have to have a will of iron.
Unlike Fortnite, CS:GO is on Steam, which is the largest games distribution platform, with over 95 million monthly active users in 2019. This makes it easy to access, download and launch games all in one place.
Epic Games has its own platform and its own selection of games, which although smaller, still has a considerable audience, and is evidently very successful in its own right. Both platforms are available to download online, and must be downloaded in order to play the games.
There are nine main maps in CS:GO compared with Fortnite’s one map per season. While in CS:GO you can either choose your map or pick a random one, with Fortnite there is no option for selection.
This has been a criticism for Fortnite, as the game has been accused of growing stale. However, for players that enjoy familiarity and learning the maps to best utilise them, this is ideal.
Given CS:GO has more maps, allowing for a greater variety within games, it’s the clear winner here.
CS:GO has nine main game modes: Competitive, Casual, Deathmatch, Arms Race, Demolition, Wingman, Flying Scoutsman, Danger Zone, and Weapons Course. In contrast, Fortnite boasts seven: Solos, Duos, Squads, Creative, Battle Labs, Team Rumble, and Arena.
Both games have a basic structure with the game modes adhere to: with CS:GO the difficulty, location and weapons change, and with Fortnite the people per team, competitiveness and weapons change. The basic gameplay remains largely the same, especially with Fortnite.
The characters of Fortnite and CS:GO are defined largely by their skins (the way a characters/weapons/objects appear). However, in this area, partly due to its social media prevalence and partly because of its third-person perspective within the game, Fortnite has far more memory and popular characters.
In the latest season, for example, Fortnite released an update integrating the lore, legends and heroes from Marvel into gameplay. It has also featured Star Wars, music concerts and other popular figures. Within CS:GO, the characters play a less important role as the focus is primarily on the game-play.
GSCO vs Fortnite – Final Thoughts
Fortnite and CS: GO both have very different approaches to gaming. One focuses on a hyper-realistic, immersive experience with a high skill ceiling and many game modes. The other acts as a gateway into gaming for, often, younger and less experienced games. One is Steam’s most played game, and one has the record for the most concurrent players. Both are valuable and popular in their own way.
However, for the game-play experience outside of internet notoriety, I would give my vote to CS: GO. Its immersive experience and varied game modes allow for a more enduring gaming experience – as seen through CS: GO’s consistent performance and fan base.