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Published: November 23, 2023

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • It’s seen a 9% drop in player numbers over the past 30 days alone
  • There are many factors that seem to drive players away from the game
  • Some said the game is simply going back to its pre-CS2 hype figures

It’s been almost two months since CS2 was released, but it seems that the game has not had the popularity explosion Valve had hoped for, but instead saw hundreds of thousands of players drop it.

CS2 Player Numbers Drop

It’s no secret that the Counter-Strike franchise is one of the most popular FPSes in the world. That being said, there are always variations in the number of players who actually play the game at any given time, and it seems things are not looking great for CS2 if we look at that metric.

The tactical shooter has hit its lowest average player count for the year and it may go down even further. According to Steam Charts, the game saw a substantial 8.93% decrease in the average player numbers over the past 30 days alone. The numbers for October are even worse, as that month saw a more than twice as big loss of 18.85%.

But the bad news for the title does not end there. The large numbers of players seemingly leaving the game are bad enough, but things are worse when you consider CS2 launched on September 27 to much fanfare. Yet, it was just a few days before players started dropping out and October and November did not see any increase. Even comparing it to when CS:GO was still around, that game still had more players, even at its lowest point. In January 2023, CS:GO had around 726,000 players on average, while CS2 has already dropped to 722,000 just two months after its release.

What Could Be the Cause of This?

For starters, CS2 is more like a large update to CS:GO, rather than an entirely new game. Although players appreciate the continuity between the two, CS2 did not really bring many new things to the table. Although the graphics were slightly improved and the new game runs on a different engine, the most substantial change in gameplay perhaps comes to how smoke grenades work. Interestingly, some CS pros disliked this feature, such as Shroud who said CS2 will “die” way back in early October, just a week after the game’s release.

The new engine also seems to have made the game more difficult to run on lower-end PCs. According to many, CS2 requires superior hardware requirements which were deemed to be higher than Valorant’s.

Matchmaking and cheating is also a big problem with the game. Many have been complaining about the way matchmaking currently works in Counter-Strike 2, while the game seems to have been deluged with a ton of hackers. On anecdotal evidence from our gameplay, we have encountered at least one wallhacker on average every three to four games on ranked.

It’s undeniable that CS2 still has a lot of kinks to iron out, but some fans defended the game, saying it has not lost players, but it is merely reaching its average player count. According to them, CS:GO had a much higher player base throughout this year because everyone was hyped for CS2, which was announced to be in development in late winter.

There could be more reasons for CS2’s lowering player numbers, but if this trend does not stabilize at some point, it could spell trouble for the game.

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