Update, February 9: One day after hitting a new peak, CSGO broke its record again, cracking 900k concurrent viewers.
As Counter-Strike: Global Offensive enters its eighth year as top-tier competitive esport title, the latest installment of the iconic shooter franchise from Valve has hit a new peak of concurrent total player numbers.
CS:GO begins a new decade of dominance in 2020. The classic franchise remains at the top of the list for not just shooters on Steam, but all games after releasing in August of 2012.
On February 8 2020, SteamCharts charted a peak number of concurrent CSGO players at 874,875, its highest ever.
The previous peak was 850,485, which was set in April 2016, around the time of the MLG Columbus major. Luminosity Gaming, the core of which now plays for MIBR, defeated Natus Vincere in the grand finals. The tournament also produced the memorable jumping double AWP kill from Marcelo ‘coldzera’ David, which was immortalized with a graffiti at the spot on Mirage.
The new peak number is the latest in a string of record-breaking numbers for the game, and the cap to months of growth seen in the CSGO player base. The average player record was broken in August 2019, and then broken again in November, December, and January.
The concurrent players peak has climbed since July 2019 from 578,933 up to the current peak number of 874,875. CS:GO leads in all active statistical categories for games on Steam for the last month, beating other popular multiplayer titles like Dota 2, GTA V, and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds.
There’s a long list of potential factors for the game’s stupendous player growth. Going free-to-play certainly helped, but clearly isn't the sole factor, as it was months after it went F2P in December 2018 for the rise in players to occur.
As the previous peak from 2016 indicates, Valve-sponsored majors draw plenty of attention to the game, and the StarLadder Berlin major in August 2019 helped get the momentum going.
That mixed with the soon-after release of Operation Shattered Web brought players to CSGO in thousands, and with free-to-play taking away the financial barrier to entry, newer players were more likely to try with skins, cases, and custom agents available as rewards.
While those same custom skins have had some trouble being integrated into the game's esports scene, it's that same highly-competitive and highly-viewed competitive field that has done wonders for attracting new players.
Events like the ongoing BLAST Premier Spring series, as well as the upcoming ESL Pro League Season 11 and FLASHPOINT tournament series, keep fans invested in the state of the game, and with the ESL Rio major right around the corner, hitting a new peak in March isn't out of the question.