CS2 is losing players despite the recent update

Counter-Strike 2 used to be a massive game just eight months ago, having more than 1.1 million average online... Radu M. | 12. February 2024

Counter-Strike 2 used to be a massive game just eight months ago, having more than 1.1 million average online players and a community of around 20 million. Nowadays, the game has 712.000 average online players and a considerably smaller community.

This is a bit surprising considering the frequency of Valve’s updates. Just a week ago we had a major one, which significantly improved a lot of aspects of the game and added a famous game mode called Arms Race. Not to mention the Kilowatt Case, the Ambush Sticker Capsule, new maps like Baggage and Shoots, and lots of small improvements.

All of these things did not change the current trajectory of the game’s community for the better. In fact, CS2 lost almost 50.000 online players (on average) in the last 30 days. That corresponds to more than 6% of the game’s player base.

What’s behind this problem

One explanation for the massive player loss experienced since May last year, when the peak was reached, is that the new game is not as fun to play as the previous one. CS:GO may not have looked as smooth as CS2, but at least it was stable and quite enjoyable, especially in certain game modes and in controlled environments that offered decent protection from cheaters.

The new game lacks a lot of content and it’s still quite buggy, making it hard for players to predict what’s going to happen in a given situation. For good players, that’s a major problem because they were used to winning thanks to moves that are no longer viable in many cases.

The subtick system still needs some adjustments to feel balanced and smooth. The CS2 update of February 6 improved networking, reducing peeker’s advantage “in many cases”. In the steady state, the advantage has been reduced by 16ms, which is significant for pro players.

Will it be enough?… It remains to be seen. What we know for sure is that s1mple, who took a break from the game because he couldn’t stand it anymore, has announced his return and said that he’ll be back after the Copenhagen Major, which will end on March 31.

Another possible explanation for the recent drop is IEM Katowice 2024. This S-tier CS2 tournament brought together 24 teams and lasted for nearly two weeks. Many matches were watched by more than 400.000, while the Grand Final had close to 1 million viewers. Such audience numbers could easily result in the game losing a lot of online players.

Header: Valve