CSGO player count stabilizing after 6 months of drop

By Fariha Bhatti


Sep 28, 2021

Reading time: 2 min

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s dramatic decline in players throughout 2021 has drawn to a close after six consecutive months, new stats show.

Valve’s shooter seems to be on the mend after losing 16% of its player base in June 2021, recording the most lasting drop since the game’s release in 2012. However, Steamcharts shows that CSGO is restoring form as the game sees its first boost in six months.

According to steamcharts, 6,014 more players logged into CSGO, adding a small portion to the declining player count for the first time since February 2021.

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Is CSGO dying?

While most games suffered a fall during the online shift in 2020, CSGO’s drop was a massive one.

Since its release, CSGO has never lost players consecutively for six months. The drop was triggered in February and gained traction in June when Valve rolled out a new patch. The June release notes put a paywall on Prime Status, requiring a fee of $15 to eliminate “bad actors” from CSGO. This new update, paired with the booming success of rival Valorant, added tons to CSGO’s decline.

The impact could be observed on player count, popularity, and esports viewership. With a stagnant esports scene in North America, top players migrating to Valorant only added insult to the injury. Consequently, the game saw its first most prolonged slump and a drop of around 110K players in a single month. Previously, the highest single-month decrease was recorded in April 2018 (18.4%) and straight after launch in October 2012 (32.88%).

However, it seems that the curse is over.

The game has registered a minor but vital gain of 1.19% in its player count in August 2021. The count hasn’t yet returned to the previous one million, but it’s still a silver lining for disheartened fans. While it’s unknown what triggered this boost since nothing significant happened in August. However, the game’s popularity saw a hike after PGL announced CSGO’s first major event in front of a large crowd since September 2019 in Stockholm, the home of Counter-Strike.

CSGO getting Operation pass

The current gain is a small one, but it’ll only go up in September.

The developer has rolled out a new Operation pass in Riptide, bringing new model skins, significant changes to maps, and a grenade drop feature. More players might log back into their accounts to earn Riptide awards and grind through the Operation pass, ultimately boosting the player count once again.


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