Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has reached its highest number of average players since its release in 2012.
August has been a good month for the first-person shooter. The number of average players went over 402,000, a significant increase compared to the 393,000 in the month of July. The previous record was established in February 2017.
The number particularly stands out at this time of the year. Historically, CSGO has had a lower number of average players in the summer. June, July, and August are slow months compared to December and January, colder months in much of the world during which the numbers go drastically up. In August 2018, CSGO had 283,000 average players. That’s a 119,000 player difference in just one year.
There isn’t one single reason for that increase. Instead it’s a combination of multiple factors that are raising CSGO’s popularity. For starters, CSGO is one of the most balanced FPS games on the market. Compared with games that constantly introduce new mechanics and dramatic changes, CSGO doesn’t rely on these wild breaks in the game’s structure to attract players.
That’s the case for battle royale titles like Fornite and Apex Legends. Fornite in particular is losing players because of the recent introduction of the BRUTE mechs. Those players are not migrating in full to CSGO, but they are giving more attention to the game. One example is the popular streamer Tim “TimTheTatMan” Betar, who’s known largely for his Fortnite play but has more recently played CSGO on his stream.
Esports’ growing popularity might also play a part in CSGO’s numbers. Out of the top games with competitive scenes, CSGO is arguably the easiest to understand and watch. The learning curve in games like League of Legends and Dota 2 can be too high for the casual viewer.
Other games like Overwatch are difficult to watch at the highest levels of play considering how many things can happen at the same time with limited spectator options. The viewing experience in CSGO is overall easier, and the format is simpler.
There’s also the obvious factor fo CSGO going free-to-play. Developer Valve moved the game to a free-to-play model in December 2018. While there were significant concerns about how this might attract a new influx of hackers to the game, the increasing player count that has followed as a result cannot be denied.
August is the best time to get into CSGO with the Berlin Major taking place. The best teams in the world are competing for the title and part of the $1 million prize pool.