Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is still beating its own player record more than 11 years after launch. Not even two weeks ago, CS:GO broke its previous record of 1,308,963 set three years ago by hitting 1,320,219 concurrent players. And now, that record has been raised to 1,324,800 concurrent players after the game surged yet again on February 19.
SteamDB has the new record recorded last Sunday at 13:00 UTC. Sundays are usually the highest-population days as people typically are home before the start of the work week, and 13:00 UTC is the time when European gamers are well into their day while North American players are starting to wake up.
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As noted by GamesRadar, CS:GO is Steam’s most popular title by a longshot. With almost double the concurrent player count of Dota 2, more than three times that of Hogwarts Legacy, and more than five times that of Apex Legends, CS:GO is a juggernaut, but with a problematic history.
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CS:GO first started life as a Half-Life mod before Valve purchased the developer. Later releasing an upgraded stand-alone title called CS:GO, the game evolved with the wider market for live-service games, adding new game modes, loads of cosmetics, and limited-time events. But all those items came wrapped in the worst kinds of monetization, including microtransactions, lootboxes, and worst of all, outright gambling.
Valve might not have casinos in CS:GO, but there are tons of gambling sites out there that will let players put up their in-game cosmetics in games of chance. These gambling sites skirt gambling laws in many places around the work, and it’s wrapped up with CS:GO’s professional e-sports scene too. People Make Games recently ran a report that alleged it’s an open secret that professional e-sports teams throw matches just to make big bucks on CS:GO gambling sites, where players can bet on the outcome of games using those expensive skins.
Making new skins for CS:GO can be big business, which is why some nefarious actors will steal designs from artists in order to sell them as cosmetics. Most recently, a skin for the AWP sniper rifle was removed after the artist reported the design as stolen from one of their creations.