When Ubisoft unveiled Rainbow Six: Siege, many Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players were quick to point out the similarities between the two. Whenever a new FPS is announced, it’s immediately compared to Call of Duty, Halo, Titanfall or another similar title. It’s likely that Ubisoft will attempt to position Siege as an eSports game with a strong competitive push, so any comparisons to Counter-Strike are welcome. At the moment, CS:GO is arguably one of the most popular team-based shooters in the eSports scene, so let’s take a look at how similar these games are.
Both Rainbow Six: Siege and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive offer five vs. five team-based gameplay. While we don’t have a full rundown of the gameplay moves available in Siege, we know that both games offer hostage scenarios in which one team holds a hostage and the other team must free the hostage. Rounds are won when an entire team is dead or the hostage is saved. This creates an environment in which players have to communicate well and work together in order to complete their objective (defend the hostage or free the hostage). It’s an integral part of competitive play and one of the many reasons why CS:GO is so popular.
In most FPS titles, the player respawns after every death in order to continue playing. That is not the case in Rainbow Six: Siege and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. In CS:GO, when you die the death is permanent. This is similar to Siege, except there is an opportunity to be revived by a teammate in certain situations. While at first this may make Siege appear casual-friendly, that’s probably a good thing. With the game being more accessible to casual players, it creates a larger player base, which is extremely important to when it comes to eSports. You need a large player base and a lot of fans to keep a game in the competitive light, and that’s exactly what Ubisoft is striving for with the more casual aspects of R6: Siege.
While the round time can vary in Counter-Strike, you generally see tournaments running with two-minute rounds or less. Rainbow Six: Siege runs with three-minute rounds. Once again we can see that Ubisoft is opting for a similar experience to CS: GO, but with a slight nod toward the more casual player. Keep in mind there’s quite a bit to do in a round of Siege, so the extra time isn’t necessarily a significant advantage for the player. Either way, shorter rounds mean more intense games and that’s great for the competitive scene. CS: GO matches can easily last 40 minutes or more, so going with anything more than three-minute rounds in Siege would cause lengthy matches that likely wouldn’t be as entertaining to watch.
The big question with R6: Siege is how many rounds tournaments will go with. Most CS: GO tournaments use a 30-round match format, but many players have pushed for 24 or even 15 rounds per match to help speed things up. Most gameplay demos of Siege consist of three-round matches, but it’s expected for tournaments to push that up to at least five rounds if possible. You want matches to be long enough to determine the best team and root out any potential randomness, but short enough to keep the viewers engaged and coming back for more. Both R6: Siege and CS: GO offer shorter round times for these reasons.
In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, players purchase weapons and ammo during a short period before each round begins. While you won’t need to manage money to purchase things in Rainbow Six: Siege, you still have a preparation time before each round that allows the offensive team to select classes, determine their spawn point, send in drones to find the location of the hostage and scope out defenses and discuss strategies. Meanwhile, the defensive team sets up barricades and traps to fortify their position to the best of their abilities. This adds a great deal of strategy, ideal for a competitive title. In addition, for the viewers, this gives a lot of insight into the strategy each team is going for, keeping the viewers engaged. Once again, this creates a better eSports experience.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a huge title in the realm of eSports. It has a much larger following overseas compared to North America, but in modern times location isn’t as important because it’s easy to spectate games from almost anywhere in the world. Ubisoft will likely go for widespread competition in all parts of the world. The Rainbow Six brand, in addition to some of the more casual-friendly features, and the large console presence the game is certain to have add up to great potential for Ubisoft’s upcoming title. Ubisoft hasn’t had a great deal of luck when it comes to eSports, but it looks as though R6: Siege has the most potential.