Is CS2 Dying?

Is CS2 Dying?

CS2 has been the spectacle of much criticism over the past few months. From a disappointing launch to a lack of communication between developers and players, the game has been attracting a lot of negative feedback. Many players, including some professionals, including the iconic Natus Vincere AWPer s1mple, have taken a temporary break from the game, citing the game's inferiority to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

All of this drama and negative feedback surrounding Counter-Strike 2 has led to much speculation surrounding CS2 being responsible for the death of the previously seemingly immortal Counter-Strike franchise. Many players have claimed that the game was "dying" due to a lack of interest from new players, and think it won't be long until CS2 falls alongside many other failed game sequels and releases. But is this true? Is CS2 dying? In this article, we have decided to look into that question.

Is CS2 Dying?

For a game to die, it needs to become so boring or unplayable that the player count reaches a deficient number compared to the player count of its prequel or the player count it achieved at launch. Taking a look at this graph of CS:GO and CS2 playercount, we can see that although the playercount has been decreasing in a short time frame, it has been remaining stable, and even growing in the larger perspective.

Source: SteamCharts

According to the graph, Counter-Strike's player count has been experiencing a decrease since it reached its all-time peak in May of 2023. Back in May, an average of 1,117,517 people were playing CS2 every day, with an all-time high of 1.8 million concurrent players reached. But since then, the graph has shown a fast drop during the summer, a quick increase at the initial release of CS2, and a gradual fall from there.

However, although this limited view of recent trends seems depressing, we need to look at the larger scope of things. CS2 is in its early stages. In CS:GO's first year, it was averaging just 10,000 players per day. Many players criticized the game, claiming that it would never reach the ranks of Counter-Strike 1.6 or Source. However, the release of the Arms Deal Update and the arrival of skins boosted the game tremendously, reaching player counts of 100,000, 200,000, and even 300,000.  But this growth was not fast. CS:GO didn't reach a daily player count of 400,000 until 2017, and didn't maintain that number consistently until 2019. From there, growth was more exponential, reaching new milestones every month. But even in December of 2022, one year ago, the game was only drawing in 630,000 players, a whopping 100,000 less than play CS2 every day today.

In short, it took CS:GO almost an entire decade to reach the numbers that CS2 currently brings in. And even though CS2 had a much larger foundation to build on than Global Offensive, we still have hope that there is a long way to go from here. A lack of content is hurting the game right now, but new skins, cases, operations, and tournaments will draw in new players, boost numbers, and help to keep Counter-Strike alive for decades to come.