May was a huge month for Dota 2, with a load of pro games to watch and the launch of The International 10 Battle Pass. It’s generally a great time to be a Dota 2 player, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that more people are playing Dota 2.
After three consecutive months of gains, Dota 2’s player base actually dropped in May.
According to Steam Charts, Dota 2 had an average player count of 484,189.0, with a peak of 793,135. Both of these numbers are down by between one and two percent from April, which saw tallies of 493,300.3 and 801,121, respectively.
Dota 2 experienced a significant decline in its active player base in late 2019 following a decline in the popularity of Dota Auto Chess and the ending of the TI9 Battle Pass. This continued into 2020, with the game hitting scary lows in January. The average player counts grew well from there, and experienced a big jump in April.
The decline in May likely comes as a surprise, but coincides with similar drops experienced in other games.
Dota 2’s player count declining after serious gains isn’t a surprise. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive saw its player count dip over 10% in May after steadily rising since November. Most other prominent multiplayer games on Steam either saw their player counts drop or saw their rate of growth decline.
Though there were a number of different factors that can be credited for those jumps in player count during the winter, the largest contributor was lockdowns around the globe being implemented across Europe and North America. With some of those lockdowns being lifted, player counts have begun to dip.
— WIN.gg 🎮 (@officialWINgg) May 26, 2020
While this was to be expected, Dota 2 losing ground should be a bit worrisome. The battle pass is one of the highlights of the year for Dota 2 fans and is typically one of the hottest stretches of the year in terms of player counts. The fact that Dota 2 has seen smaller dips than other games is something, but the expectation was for the player count to actually grow as a response to the launch of the TI10 Battle Pass.
This is likely of little concern to Valve, though. Regardless of the player count, the TI10 Battle Pass has been a huge financial success thus far. The TI10 prize pool has risen at a record pace and is looking likely to exceed that of TI9.