The average player count for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive dropped almost 17% in the last month, the highest drop-off in players since April 2018 – the third-highest fall in a single month since the popular FPS game came out – which may be attributed to Valve’s decision to start charging for Prime matchmaking.
According to SteamCharts (via DotEsports), the average player count in CS:GO for May was 659,889 people, but then fell significantly to just 549,347 players in June – a drop of around 110K players in a single month, or 16.75%. The only months with a higher fall in player count in the game’s history are April 2018 (18.4%) and straight after launch in October 2012 (32.88%, which CS:GO quickly made back up again).
While we can’t be certain, it seems likely that the reason for the change is because of Valve’s recent decision to start charging players who want access to Prime matchmaking – so now players have to pay $15 to get Prime status and get all of its features, such as ranked play, drops, Skill Groups, or the ability to receive XP.
While Valve made the change to stop “bad actors” hurting the CS:GO experience for both new and current players – and fans playing for free still have access to all maps, modes, skill-based matchmaking, and even community-made maps – many seem to have given up playing the game entirely.
While a 549,347 average player count is still something to be proud of – until February 2020 it has never been that high for CS: GO’s entire lifetime – with direct challengers such as Valorant out there Valve certainly shouldn’t rest on its laurels.