Screenshot taken of CS2 player holding a default knife in front of Mirage's Triple Box on Bombsite A.
Screenshot by Dot Esports

CS2 player count hits all-time low as Valve fails to meet expectations

Not dying anytime soon, but this doesn't look good.

After being in closed beta for months, Counter-Strike 2’s global launch finally happened on Sept 27, 2023. Two months later, it has already hit its all-time low average player count for the year, and players are convinced it’s because of expectations not met.

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Under a Reddit post highlighting CS2’s dropping player count over the past months (based on Steam Charts) were several comments, blaming factors ranging from the rampant cheating problem to the evident content drought.

A player named donkdonkdo shared a relatable thought, the fact the fandom was expecting a new experience out of CS2, but instead got a “slightly prettier CS:GO without the polish and the majority of features absent.” “This is a situation where you have what is essentially an indie-sized team trying to build out a game that takes in tens of millions a month,” they wrote. 

“Imagine telling your playerbase you’re upgrading the engine their favorite game runs on only to actually decrease the amount of physical content for them to play,” another player wrote, stressing the lack of exciting content in CS2

Many players underlined cheating as the reason they stopped playing CS2. “I know not everyone is cheating, but everytime someone does something fishy -and it happens a lot, even with clean games without cheaters- it gets through my head: what if THIS guy is not legit?” one wrote. 

Cheating is definitely a problem in CS2, but it was also present in CS:GO. It’s so deeply blended with Counter-Strike’s legacy that a lot of players have stopped expecting a viable anti-cheat solution from Valve’s side. While cheating might not be the biggest reason why the player count is dropping, it’s definitely there. 

Another player blamed the game’s matchmaking system, saying they’ll return to CS2 after it gets better, and others related to it. Not to forget, the sheer number of bugs and animation glitches that affect our matches on a daily basis.

While CS2’s problems are definitely affecting its numbers, it’s worth noting a reduction in player count is normal after the launch hype dies. One player highlighted the same, saying they’d worry only if after six months, the numbers were similar to what CS:GO recorded in 2019.

It looks like Valve needs to do some damage control to kickstart CS2’s gears before it’s too late.


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Author
Sharmila Ganguly
Staff Writer at Dot Esports. An enthusiastic gamer who bumped into the intricacies of video game journalism in 2021 and has been hustling ever since. Obsessed with first-person shooter titles, especially VALORANT. Contact: sharmila@dotesports.com