Counter-Strike: Global Offensive grew massively in 2020, and despite the game being eight years old it shows no signs of slowing down in 2021.
In January 2020, CSGO suddenly jumped from an average daily player count of 650,000 to over 800,000. It was a big moment for Valve’s first-person shooter. After years of lagging behind Dota 2, CSGO was finally in the spotlight. Over the next several months, CSGO would climb to 900,000 daily players before breaking the million-player mark for the first time.
The game hasn’t averaged fewer than 814,000 daily players since then. And while CSGO has continued to grow alongside Steam China’s open beta, players are now wondering if it can keep up the pace.
Over the past two months, CSGO has averaged more than one million players online at the same time, with January 17 peaking at 1,080,127 players online at once. And even though that number seems impressive, figures like those have become a routine sight on Steam Charts. In fact, CSGO’s player count has looked like that for an entire month, with the shooter marking a two-month stretch where it hit more than a million concurrent players each day earlier this month.
That streak even helped Steam set a new record for total users logged on at once, almost hitting the 25 million player mark. What’s more, CSGO managed to hit those marks without the help of one of its biggest assets.
CSGO is continuing to grow, but it has managed to do it without the help of something many thought would save it.
Esports has always been a huge part of CSGO, but the scene took hits heading into 2021. Scandals rocked the game’s top teams last year, with accusations of stream sniping thrown at top teams just a month after 37 coaches were banned from competition for cheating. On top of that, Valve effectively canceled two of the game’s Major tournaments, the highest level of competition that CSGO has to offer. But even with the cancelations and the scandals, the game is in a fantastic place to grow its player count in 2021.
After a rough year, Valve didn’t waste any time before announcing CSGO’s next scheduled Major. The developer revealed that PGL will host the next Major championship in Stockholm, complete with a $2,000,000 prize pool. Set to begin on October 23, 2021, Valve seems committed to reviving CSGO’s struggling esports scene after a rough year. The developer deserves some credit for what they’ve done for the game.
Valve showed its commitment to CSGO with the release of Operation Broken Fang in December. This new operation brought three new cases and a bunch of new agents to the game, and that means that players are now spending more time in-game chasing those rewards. The new maps, missions, and skins have fueled the game’s further growth, bringing in new players and keeping existing players happy. Thanks to Valve’s constant updates and CSGO’s refined core gameplay, new players are still streaming into CSGO nearly a decade after the game’s release.
These new players get to experience CSGO on new maps, some made by CSGO’s dedicated community and some created by Valve, in the game’s famous multiplayer modes and in its cooperative guardian maps. And since the Steam Workshop lets players download even more fan-made content, there’s no shortage of things for players to do in the game.
If Valve continues to support CSGO the way it has over the past year, this spring may see the shooter break its own all-time player count record once again.