| 21. July 2021

IEM Cologne Viewership – Is CS:GO Dying?

CS:GO’s regular player base has sharply decreased since January this year, from around 743,000 average concurrent players to just 513,000. That’s a loss of 230,000 average concurrent players, which translates to around 3-5 million players. This might make some people fear for the game, but let’s put these numbers into context.

Pre-Pandemic Numbers

CS:GO had around 400,000 – 450,000 average concurrent players at the end of 2019. And a year before that, its numbers were even lower. In fact, the further back we go, the lower the numbers get. And on average, we can see that after the game started to gain steam, its number of average concurrent players was somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000.

Of course, whenever you lose a huge amount in a short period of time, the alarm bell starts ringing: “What am I doing wrong?!” But if you look at the situation in context, it’s obvious that CS:GO isn’t dying at all. If anything, it’s growing at a slow pace: two steps forward, one and a half steps back.

Hopefully, the number will stabilize somewhere around 500,000. That would mean that the community has a player base of around 10 million.

IEM Cologne Viewership

Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2021 was a huge event that featured the best 24 teams in the world and offered $1 million in prizes. The tournament had a total of 9 competitive days spread across almost 2 weeks. And its viewership numbers were not bad for the current situation we are in. Consider this: there were no fans present inside the venue and the entire spectacle had to be created by the two teams. But despite that, 843,000 people watch the Grand Final and the number of average concurrent viewers throughout the event was 235,000.

Under normal conditions, these numbers would have been 50 – 100% higher. We know this because of the viewership results of CS:GO Majors in 2019, when the player base was much lower than today. For example, IEM Katowice Major 2019 had 1.2 million viewers for the Grand Final and close to 400,000 average concurrent users overall.

The way things are going right now, it’s going to be another year until we go back to normal. Some organizations might lose their patience but I think the big players understand that esports isn’t going away any time soon. And if it hadn’t been for the ongoing global problems, the industry would have experienced tremendous growth over the past year and a half.

In the long run, 2020 and 2021 will look like a bump in the road. And they certainly won’t end the successful run that esports has had over the past 10 years.


Photo credit: IEM|Steffie-Wunderl