According to SteamCharts, CS:GO saw a drop of 16.75% (that’s 110,541.8 users) in its player numbers from May to June this year. This drop has persisted, with the last 30 days on the chart having an average player count of 537,011.6 (-2.25% from June).
Whilst unconfirmed, the large drop off in player numbers is likely due to Valve’s recent decision to charge players for Prime Status. This is a feature that allows players to match with other Prime Status members and receive specific rewards, with players level 21 or above able to use Prime. Since June 3 however, Valve announced players would need to pay for Prime, which costs £10.89 on Steam.
Valve said in a blog that due to “bad actors” hurting the experience for all players, Prime Status would be locked behind a paywall. “New players can still play every game mode, play on community servers, and play workshop maps. However, they will no longer receive XP, Ranks, drops, or Skill Groups; those features are now exclusively available to Prime Status players.”
The same post also introduced ‘Unranked’, which means that when new players play Competitive, Wingman, or Danger Zone they still get skill-based matchmaking but don’t earn a Skill Group alongside this.
Valve did clarify that if players upgrade to Prime Status in the next two weeks from posting, that their current Skill Group and XP progress would carry over.
Despite the player numbers for CS:GO still being incredibly high, April 2020 saw a total player count of 857,604.2 according to SteamCharts, with the numbers slowly dropping since.