Counter-Strike: Global Offensive had more than two million players this month

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player numbers are on the up.

“CS:GO has been hitting milestones recently,” say Valve. The latest iteration of the competitive shooting standard now regularly doubles the player numbers of its parent game on Steam. Early this month it reached 100,000 concurrent players, placing it comfortably within reach of the top most-played games on the service. And during the same period, Global Offensive’s playerbase passed beyond two million unique accounts. Lots.

AGlobal Offensive patchtoday reinforced the game’s server infrastructure to support its growing community.

“2014 promises to be even bigger than last year, with huge tournaments, exciting events, and more,” say the CS dev team. “We’re already off to a great start, and with tournaments each week, it’s no surprise that the CS:GO community has started to get organized.”

January began in the aftermath of Global Offensive’s Winter Offensive update, which introduced two new maps and the first ever community-made weapon crate to the game. This month has also seen the extention of Valve’s Operation Bravo initiative – a pass purchase which makes selected community maps playable on low-ping official servers for a limited time, from which the map creators take a cut.

Global Offensive is certainly the most popular Counter-Strike since records began. Unfortunately, Steam records only thread back to 2009 – long after Counter-Strike 1.6 reached its peak. 1.6 doesn’t require players to run Steam – so even contemporary numbers can be misleading.

One of the biggest events in CS:GO’s 2014 Calendar isEMS One Katowice, where pros will compete for a community-bolstered prize pool of $250,000 from March 16. It’s surely the CS:GO dev team’s willingness to learn the crowdfunded lessons of Dota, as well as their boldness in playing with the CS formula, that’s seen the series’ playerbase grow rather than diminish.

Can you think of any other reasons?