February 4, 2019 CS:GO’s player counts are back above PUBG.
Today marks a momentous occasion for the post-battle royale era. For the first time since August 2017, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive had a higher peak player count than PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. All it took was a year-long decline in PUBG player count, a free-to-play relaunch, and a new, original take on battle royale.
PUBG peaked at 558,663 today. CS:GO peaked at 658,966. That’s definitive as far as Steam players go, but there are some caveats to the number – most notably, CS:GO’s Chinese release goes through Perfect World-branded variation of Steam rather than the standard launcher. Whether Steam counts players using the Perfect World launcher remains a topic of debate, but last we heard the player counts likely do include China.
Noted CS:GO observer Nors3 picked up on the record today, and he also pointed to a record unique player count for the game back in December. 20,535,709 players were drawn in for the month after CS:GO went free-to-play. That’s the most it’s ever recorded, and was double November’s numbers.
But even though CS:GO has been setting recent records, this change in position seems to owe more to the rapidly-cooling response to PUBG. Make no mistake – PUBG is still a juggernaut, and one that still commands player counts that only Steam’s biggest free games can compete with.
Fix PUBG seemed to garner a positive response, but it hasn’t been enough to stem the tide of player turnover in the long-term.
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Meanwhile, Steam Charts shows CS:GO’s remarkable consistency. While player peaks have dropped off a bit since the game went free to play, that looks like a natural thing for a brief spike of interest. There’s been little indication of any long-term dropoff since then.