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CS:GO sets new record with over 1.3M concurrent players

For the second time this year, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has become one of the most-played first-person shooters of all time — with a concurrent player count reaching 1,354,248 on Sunday, February 26, 2023, according to SteamCharts.com.

Previously on February 11, the tactical shooter reached a record for concurrent users when 1,320,219 people joined to play the game.

The data aggregation and analysis website SteamCharts.com also reported that monthly player counts for CS:GO often fall somewhere between 500,000 and 750,000. CS:GO can have as many as 1.2 million people online when the game is at its busiest. Per the platform’s data, the overall player count in CS:GO has been increasing since November 2022.

Like in previous years, player numbers are expected to slow or even reverse in the coming months. March 2021 and 2022 had the lowest player numbers, while April and May saw an increase.

Players in CS:GO vs. other games

Fans can compare CS:GO player counts to other games by looking at publicly accessible data for multiplayer games.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege has an average of about 30,000 players and a peak of about 50,000, as reported by SteamCharts.

On Sunday, the website Tracker Network said that Riot’s tactical hero shooter VALORANT had 5,653,805 active players. It also reported that the game’s highest peak of concurrent users was 6,027,617.

Dota 2, Valve’s other game, has 1,291,328 all-time peak players, placing it second in SteamCharts. There were 680,746 players on Sunday.

Apex Legends is a free-to-play battle royale hero shooter created by Respawn Studios and distributed by Electronic Arts. It currently ranks third on SteamCharts, with an all-time peak of 624,473.

Why CS:GO is so popular

Several factors contribute to the popularity of CS:GO. It all started when Valve bought Counter-Strike and encouraged its continued development by the community.

Although Valve offered Counter-Strike with few extras, the modding community added its flair, making the game their own. Therefore, other games find it hard to compete with CS:GO, especially nowadays, when the publisher has tight control over most major players.

Many developers micromanage every aspect of their products to increase sales, from the esports circuit to the in-game meta. In other words, the player is just another consumer.

On the other hand, CS:GO players purchase something other than a finished good. Instead, the game is supported by artists and devoted fans. Platform and event creators in CS:GO have more leeway than in similar games.

CS:GO is also simple to play, unlike other first-person shooters. Compared to Counter-Strike, getting started in VALORANT requires access to an agent that matches one’s play style, then learning the weapons and finally learning its dozens of abilities.

Even though becoming a top competitor in CS:GO is complex, the game is the easiest FPS to learn and play. Players only need to know a few pistols and rifles to get by, at least until they reach Gold Nova.

CS:GO skin removal

The rise in popularity of CS:GO also happened at the same time after the developer removed a controversial set of skins called “Doodle Lore.”

Doodle Lore was released on February 9. The AWP version of the skin, depicting a colorful dragon with a ferocious glare, was retailed for around $300.

However, the AWP Doodle Lore was replaced with a new design titled “Duality in the Revolution.” This replacement transpired after the skin came under fire for allegedly ripping off an artist’s work.