Valve’s signature first-person shooter, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, reached its peak all-time player count on Steam this week. It is a sequel to Valve’s own Counter-Strike: Source, a remake of the original Counter-Strike game which released in 2000. The remake was the first title to run on Valve’s now-renowned Source engine.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is an objective-based first-person shooter which pits two teams against one another, the Terrorists and the Counter-Terrorists. To complete the objective, one team must plant a bomb while the other team defends the two bomb sites and, if needed, defuse the armed bomb. Winning rounds and killing players, which if done removes them from that round permanently, grants money that can be used to purchase more powerful weapons at the start of each round. Dying causes the player to drop their newly-purchased weapons, forcing people to play carefully if they want to keep the most powerful and expensive weapons for the rest of the game.
Eurogamer broke the news of this record-breaking day for Counter-Strike, which strangely comes during a relative lull in Valve’s release schedule. New content has yet to drop for Counter-Strike and things have seemingly been stagnant for a few months. However, the data provided by Steam showed 876,575 players simultaneously playing the game. This beats the record set in 2016 during the MLG Columbus tournament, where 850,485 players eagerly jumped into the shooter. News of this new record by Counter-Strike came shortly after Steam hit 18,537,490 concurrent users on its platform, shattering their previous numbers. 2020 looks to be a standout year for the usually dormant Valve studio, as they are primed to release Half-Life: Alyx, the long-awaited full-VR experience and prequel to Half-Life 2.
Valve is not only known for its longevity but also its consistency. Barring the disappointing release and encroaching death of their digital collectible card game Artifact, Valve’s track record has been almost spotless. Not only has Counter-Strike: Global Offensive been alive for over eight years, their signature MOBA, DOTA 2, has also maintained hundreds of thousands of concurrent players since 2013. Although recent player counts have been dropping, it peaked at 1,291,328 players in March 2016, an undoubtedly impressive figure for a title known for its complex systems and steep learning curve.
Valve hasn’t been as consistent with its updates as some of its competitors, with games such as Call of Duty releasing new content every few months and Rainbow Six: Siege following a seasonal release pattern as well. However, this hasn’t stopped Valve from maintaining an incredibly strong player base, and they still periodically release larger updates between lengthier intervals. The exceptional moment-to-moment gameplay of titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, as well as all of those fans patiently awaiting the next content drop, could explain Valve’s impressive stamina in the games industry.