While Counter-Strike has long seemed one of those games that might just have found its final form and will now be around forever, I am surprised that it's still breaking its own records. Over the weekend, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive set a new record for the number of people in-game online at the same time, beating a record set in April 2016. That was back before CS:GO went free-to-play, mind, but it's taken a year for free CS to climb up and topple that mighty record. 901,681 players on Sunday, that's the new high.
The statfans at SteamDB noted yesterday that Valve's public data had shared the big news. The previous record, recorded in April 2016, was for 850,485 folks in-game. That also counts people idly in menus or doing weird things but it's a pretty clear boost to the ol' big numbers.
After that high in 2016, CS started to slowly dwindle. In November 2018, just before the free-to-play switch, the month's peak was 546,192. And sure, going free brought great globs of new players but it's still had to climb back uphill to set this new record.
CS is the biggest game on Steam by far these days, with concurrent playercounts hundreds of thousands higher than rivals. Steam is not a complete picture of PC gaming, of course, what with Fortnite and League Of Legends and all the rest. It's still a lot of bombs going off, and mighty impressive for a game seven-and-a-bit years old.