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CS:GO Currently in Its Prime? Average Active Player Count Hits 1 million for 2 Months Straight


2020 was quite a mixed year for eSports. But Valve’s legendary shooter game Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) has mustered terrific numbers across the latter part of 2020 and the start of the current one (the winter season). The world-famous title has racked up over 1 million active players each and every day for the last two months, that too without taking any help from the game’s much-acclaimed eSports circuit.

The competitive CS:GO scene has been under constant fire throughout the last six months or so. The year started phenomenally, but headed south as quickly, with the transition from  packed stadiums and engaging music, straight into the gamers’ private bedrooms and computer screens with the return to the online format. But that setback couldn’t stop CS:GO from elevating Steam to all-time highs, when it comes to the number of concurrent players. The game has surpassed the landmark of 1,000,000 daily active players online, for almost two months now.

The spike in player numbers can be seen during the latter part of 2020, along with a player count of more than 1 million on December 4, 2020

The Slide

It was November 11 when CS:GO first broke the million mark regarding active players. Not so long before that, it had dipped way below a million in June. The current run marks just the second instance in the game’s vast history when it has managed to cross the million mark for two months straight, with the first one coming in March-April of 2020. Although it took the famed title five long months to get past the million concurrent player landmark again, CS:GO has again proven it to the world that it can proudly exist without counting on its professional scene’s coat tails. 

The CS:GO professional domain was reeked with scandals, one after another, all over the last fall season. The initial blow came when a two-month-long investigation conducted by the infamous Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) disclosed the fact that many of the coaches from some of the world’s most renowned teams or organizations had predominantly cheated by using certain bugs in the CS:GO coaching slots, in order to spy on enemy rosters and their strategies. The ESIC eventually banned 37 of those coaches from taking part in most of the international tournaments organized by several popular sponsors including DreamHack, ESL, and BLAST.

The Operation Broken Fang helped CS:GO enormously in acquiring the astonishing numbers it has garnered in the last couple of months

The Revival

Not so long after the debacle — the largest scandal in CS:GO since the obnoxious match-fixing incident in 2015 — reports started to surface claiming another investigation was on the cards. This time around, the investigation focused on the issue of the top teams in global competitive CS:GO stream sniping. With all these allegations on the title before the winter players’ break, many devoted viewers of the game had given up. But what ensued in the following two months has been revolutionary for the eSports world, and for the game, in particular.

It could be said that the limitations or the upright lack of CS:GO events or competitions contributed highly to the title’s monstrous last two months. But the more likely scenario is that CS:GO is only starting to garner the rewards of its developer Valve’s exclusive attention to it. Before the much-awaited launch of Operation Shattered Web, subtle tweaks in the gameplay and game files flashed at the prospect that Valve was not only creating a new Operation, but also laying the foundation on which the future of CSGO will eventually be built.

Even before the launch of Operation Broken Fang in December last year, the able developers of the game slowly but surely switched out and added quite a few high resolution textures to many of the game’s legendary and fan-favourite archives. After a long long wait, CS:GO enthusiasts finally got to enjoy their due trip back to the natural surroundings of Aztec, facilitated by Operation Broken Fang itself and its brand new map — de_ancient.

2020 offered CS:GO faithfuls a much-awaited trip back to Aztec

The Operation Broken Fang also unveiled a fully-fledged stats profile earlier this month. The supposedly permanent stats page, along with the recently fixed player ping program, which is incidentally the largest ever ping system in a shooter title, definitely means that CS:GO is certainly on a roll, even more so than the ever so successful Valorant from developers Riot Games.

Valve hasn’t stopped there either, as even though CSGO seems to be in the midst of a certain renaissance period, enjoying an extended phase of two straight months on the better side of the million active players mark, its other titles or IPs are getting quite a few major updates as well. Both Team Fortress and Left for Dead 2 have recently encountered several patches and constant content drops. Active gamers must not sleep on Dota 2 either, as Valve has also released a brand new hero “Hoodwink” for the MOBA title, along with its first actual content drop in several months. 

Counter Strike is one of the oldest gaming franchises right now and has gone through many ups and downs over the years, with most of it coming last year alone. But the title, mostly because of its awesome developers Valve, has proved many doubters wrong over and over again, and has come out on top. 2020 and this winter period has shown us again that Counter Strike: Global Offensive as a game might not need the help of the eSports circuit in order to survive, but its popularity and success can help other games and the whole gaming world survive in these torrid times.