Amidst COVID-19 Social Distancing, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Sets A New Concurrent Players Record

Amidst COVID-19 Social Distancing, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Sets A New Concurrent Players Record
Credit: Valve via YouTube

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most of us across the world inside at this point. As self-isolation and quarantine continue to be implemented and even extended in some areas, games have had more of a (quite literally) captive audience than ever before.

This has had a myriad of effects, both good and bad. In some places, like North America and Europe, developers have had to throttle bandwidth on their servers or slow download speeds to make sure that the servers aren’t completely overloaded by the higher-than-average number of players. On the upside, games have had more players – and therefore support – than ever before, helping to fuel some indie devs or give attention to things that greatly deserved it.

Of course, it’s also made titanic games even larger. Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, normally just shortened to CS: GO, has always been one of the most popular games on Steam, but they’ve gone and broken their own concurrent players record once again.

Two days ago, the first-person shooter pushed past their previous record with 1,271,725 concurrent players. Yes, more than 1.25 million players were defusing bombs and hitting wallbangs at the same time.

That isn’t some sort of fluke, either. Relatively, it’s barely any higher than the 24-hour player peak which just got close enough to nearly break it again, clocking in at 1,267,419 players, a difference of only 5,306 players. Granted, that difference is more than the player base of countless other games, but it’s not nearly as much when we’re talking numbers in the millions.

According to the charts on Steamdb, a website that tracks the player count of pretty much any title on Steam, the record was broken around 7:00PM, with the exact time being somewhere between then and 8:00PM. This seems to be the trend of when most players are online, with CS: GO regularly breaking past 1,000,000 players around that same time every night.

Valve has certainly been pushing their titles pretty far recently. Not long ago, they added a sizeable patch to CS: GO, changing around a selection of guns and altering maps based on feedback from professional players. They’ve also been making headlines with their long-awaited entry into the Half-Life franchise with Half-Life: Alyx, a virtual reality title that has received fantastic reviews since launch.

As the self-isolation continues, this likely isn’t the last time we’re going to see CS: GO break their concurrent players record. As of writing this, nearly 600,000 players are online, so there’s a good chance the coming weekend could bring another surge of bored isolationists coming back to play.