CSGO player count falls for 6th straight month, here’s why

By Steven Rondina


Aug 10, 2021

Reading time: 2 min

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive suffered an enormous loss of players in June and things haven’t improved much in the days since.

CSGO’s average player count declined almost 8% in July, another tough loss after what was a disastrous June for the tactical shooter. The game averaged 506,067.4 players in July with a peak of just 763,523, according to Steam Charts.

This marks six straight months of declining player counts for CSGO, extending what was already the longest dip in activity in the game’s history. July’s average player count is the lowest seen since January 2020, with the peak count being the lowest since November 2019.

While the 8% month-over-month drop in average player count is technically a significant improvement over the 17% decline the game suffered in June, the continued bleeding has unraveled almost all of the growth the game has seen since its boom in popularity in 2019.

Is CSGO a dead game?

CSGO is not a dead game yet but it has suffered a very sharp decline in players since the start of 2021.There are a long list of explanations for this, some new and some old.

The biggest culprit behind this rapid decline is the change to Prime matchmaking in CSGO. Back in June, Valve changed CSGO to require Prime status in order to receive item drops or to play in ranked matchmaking. Prime status was also locked behind a $15 paywall, rather than being made available for free to players that are well-behaved for a certain length of time.

That likely chased away a significant portion of CSGO’s free-to-play population but CSGO’s paying population also hasn’t had much reason to log in either. The driving force behind CSGO’s increased player count over the last two years has been the return of operations. Operation Shattered Web and Operation Broken Fang both drove up the player count, and things started to go into a freefall after the end of Operation Broken Fang in April.

And of course, CSGO’s lingering issues also play a part in this. The game has a persistently toxic community surrounding it, hackers run rampant across all forms of matchmaking, and there is rising competition in the tactical shooter space from Rainbow Six Siege and Valorant.

A big update might be enough to bring in more players and luckily, there are rumblings that something big might be coming. Until then, expect the player count to continue sliding.


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