We're currently barrelling towards to the all important question - which game series is the best of all time?  It's round 9 of 20, and two of the most popular eSports games of all time square off against two of the most groundbreaking single-player open-world titles. It's time for Counter-Strike v StarCraft v The Witcher v Stalker. You just need to vote for whichever you think is the best game franchise in 2017, and only one of these will make it through to the semi-final.

Round 9

Counter-Strike

Nothing less than a phenomenon, Counter-Strike's humble beginnings as a Half-Life mod belie a series which has swiftly outsold its progenitor many times over. The biggest thing to come out of Half-Life wasn't Half-Life, it was Counter-Strike. Several games and almost two decades later, CSGO is now the second most popular game on Steam, attracting a peak of 850,485 players. Incredibly, CSGO was met with a muted reception at launch, fans preferring to keep it old-school with 1.6. After the initial two-year hump though, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has transformed into a behemoth.

Series began: 2000

Total Sales: 70+ million

Best-selling game: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (31.3 million)

Main Games:

  • Counter-Strike
  • Counter-Strike: Condition Zero
  • Counter-Strike: Source
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Series Spin-offs:

  • Counter-Strike Neo
  • Counter-Strike Online
  • Counter-Strike Online 2
  • Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies

StarCraft

Blizzard knows a thing or two about cultivating a beloved franchise, evident by holding several places in this contest. As far as eSports go, StarCraft is its big success. It's sold packed out stadiums, been televised on ESPN, and the original game is still played almost 20 years later. StarCraft is longevity personified, made possible thanks to deliciously perfect game balancing and untold tactical depth.

Series began: 1998

Total Sales: 18+ million

Best-selling game: StarCraft (11 million)

Main Games:

  • StarCraft
    • StarCraft: Insurrection
    • StarCraft: Brood War
  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
    • StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
    • StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
    • StarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops
  • StarCraft: Remastered

Series Spin-offs:

  • StarCraft 64

The Witcher

A global phenomenon, The Witcher series emerged from small beginnings to becoming a genuine mainstream AAA success. The Witcher has catapulted CD Projekt RED into the mainstream, provided vital lifeblood to its GOG.com DRM-free store, and proven that solid storytelling, great quest design and massive open worlds aren't mutually exclusive.

Series began: 2007

Total Sales: 25 million

Best-selling game: The Witcher 3 (10+ million)

Main Games:

  • The Witcher
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
    • The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone
    • The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

Series Spin-offs:

  • The Witcher Battle Arena
  • Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Look, sometimes there's room for sentiment in a list. The Stalker series may have only lasted one game and a handful of expansion packs, but dear god wasn't it special. Few games could even dream of having the atmosphere that drips out of Stalker's every pore. It was, and still is, a truly special game that has sadly been overlooked over the year. If you want a little taster of how an open-world shooter can be, without the cookie-cutter design that's infiltrated the likes of Far Cry, one where danger can lurk around every corner and a game that takes pride in the unknown, then look no further than Stalker. 

Series began: 2007

Total Sales: 3 million

Best-selling game: STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl (2 million)

Main series:

  • STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl
    • STALKER: Clear Sky
    • STALKER: Call of Pripyat

Sadly only one of these illustrious franchises can make it through to the next round and potentially be the greatest game series in 2017. Every vote will count though when we tot these up and deliver the definitive list of the best gaming franchises. Have your say in the poll below, and let us know why you think it's the best gaming series in the comments section!

If you haven't voted on the previous rounds yet, you've still got time. Just follow the links below to vote for your favourite game series.

Round 1: GTA, Command and Conquer, Street Fighter, Forza

Round 2: Rainbow Six, Left 4 Dead, Halo, Half-Life

Round 3: Need For Speed, Zelda, Castlevania, Far Cry

Round 4: Splinter Cell, FIFA, Metroid, BioShock

Round 5: Metal Gear, Mario, Everquest, Mass Effect

Round 6: Resident Evil, Final Fantasy, Gran Turismo, Tomb Raider

Round 7: Baldur's Gate, Fallout, Diablo, Deus Ex

Round 8: Civilization, Quake, DOOM, XCOM

Round 9: Counter-Strike, StarCraft, Witcher, Stalker

Round 10: WarCraft, Ultima, Total War, Battlefield

Round 11: Age of Empires, Prince of Persia, Elder Scrolls, Silent Hill

Round 12: Football Manager, Minecraft, Arma, Hitman

Round 13: The Sims, Assassin's Creed, Unreal, Dragon Age

Round 14: Pokemon, Sonic, KOTOR, Colin McRae

Our Favorite Comments
"OK we've explained this a few times now - this is literally just a question asking which franchise you think is better. That's it. Imagine if someone asked you 'do you prefer Saving Private Ryan or You've Got Mail'. I imagine you could answer that, despite the fact one is a romcom, the other is war..."
Jon -
Poll closed: 11:03 Aug-18-2017