30 days ago, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive broke its all-time record for concurrent players like the boss it is (opens in new tab). This iteration of the game is eleven years old, while Counter-Strike itself has been around since 1999. Barely one month on, CS:GO has just done it again: This weekend it reached a new peak of 1.4 million concurrent players.
The previous record was 1.32 million in February 2023. The new record was reached on Saturday March 11 at 13:00 UTC, per SteamDB (opens in new tab), and is 1,420,183 players at once. This type of sustained growth so far from the game’s release is remarkable and, while many have been theorising about why now, any answer eventually ends up back at the game’s rock -fundamentals. When Valorant came out I thought this might be the game to tempt me away from CS:GO. That didn’t last.
The CS:GO twitter account took a break from tormenting fans with memes to acknowledge the new milestone with what I guess you could call a humble-gag.
Thank you to our 1.4M Twitter followers for organizing and playing CS:GO concurrently today.March 11, 2023
Also worth noting is that this isn’t some random peak, but reflective of sustained high player counts. In the last 24 hours CS:GO nearly broke the record again, tipping out at 1.41 million, while at the time of writing over a million players are in there.
CS: GO didn’t launch in the best of conditions, and the first few years saw big changes. You can make a very good argument that, in addition to the core of Counter-Strike goodness, what really saved it was $400 knives (opens in new tab). But something that rather unbelievably began as a console port now stands as the greatest competitive FPS of all time (opens in new tab), as well as Steam’s most popular game by a great distance.
One interesting piece of context for this is that the Counter-Strike community is currently at something of a fever pitch about the possibility of a new version of the game (opens in new tab), whether that means CS:GO ported to Valve’s Source 2 engine or an actual Counter-Strike 2. Valve is remaining silent but, thanks to some database leaks and claims from some esports figures, fans are certainly huffing the copium: And it looks like plenty of them are playing CS:GO to take their minds off it all.