The existing record for concurrent users on a single Steam game sits at 3,257,248, held by PUBG since January 2018. I don’t need to stress just how impressive this is, but for comparison, the next game on the list is CSGO with 1,818,773. Why, then, am I so confident that CS2 will break this near six-year record when it finally releases? It’s simple: cheaters.
With the CS2 limited test coming to an end, the full launch presents a unique opportunity for the shadier characters within the community to be among the first to create the holy grail for questionable Counter-Strike players: an undetectable cheat.
Whether or not this even exists remains to be seen, but given how far CSGO fell from grace when it went free-to-play, causing cheaters to run wild, it’s easy to look at the hype surrounding CS2 and imagine history repeating itself. Bear in mind that to break this record, there will be a lot of genuine players logging in who either didn’t bother with or were not accepted into the limited test. There will also be a wave of returning players who lost interest in CSGO when cheating became a concern. These players will be hoping that CS2 provides a new dawn, but the reality is that it potentially also offers a clean slate for questionable characters to leave their mark.
If we assess the biggest monetization opportunity within CS2, it arguably won’t fall on Valve’s side with loot boxes and cosmetics – there’s a high chance it’ll be the cheats marketplace. ‘Harmless’ executables like Word.exe could run rampant within CS, adding aimbots or revealing enemies through solid objects. These parasitic programs will fly off the digital shelves if they can promise one thing: anonymity from Valve Anti-Cheat. Promise someone they can build a genuine account off the back of your hacks and you can name your price.
The risks involved with being caught are dampened thanks to the game being free-to-play, but having to earn XP and build your trust factor with Valve is a grind, even for legitimate players. A marketplace for hacks and cheats is nothing new, but easy access to CS2 plays a huge role here, and breaking PUBG’s record is not only realistic, it’s likely. CSGO, which currently hosts the CS2 limited test, has sat comfortably at the one million concurrent users mark since the reveal of CS2, with peaks reaching as high as one and a half million.
The moment the CS2 release date comes around, it could become a complete free-for-all, and if the servers hold up, breaking the record is a guarantee. There will be first-timers intrigued by the challenge that CS2 offers, long-term players returning to the game that holds a special place in their hearts, and the questionable group of cheaters who are just out to ruin everyone else’s good time.
If you need to check if your PC can handle the improved graphics on offer in Counter-Strike 2, you can check the CS2 system requirements to get prepared for launch. We’ve also got guides to the best CS2 crosshair, CS2 settings, and an explainer of the CS2 ranks system. Plus, here are the CS2 binds you need to know.