Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) has enjoyed a surge in popularity since it added a battle royale mode — called Danger Zone — and went free-to-play back in December 2018.
According to a report by the gaming research firm Newzoo, CS:GO was played by 16.7% of core PC gamers worldwide, which is the game’s highest player share in two years. That figure was a significant jump up from 12.1% in November, courtesy of a month-on-month growth of 39.3%.
CS:GO alone accounted for 3.6% of all playing time for core PC gamers in December, compared to 2.9% in the previous month. The game was also a big boost for its developer, Valve Corporation, as CS:GO increased the percentage of PC gamers who played a Valve game from 20.3% out of all gamers in November to 24.3% in December.
The Americas were really opened up by CS:GO’s major December update, as the game first did best in Latin America, where it was played by 26.7% of core gamers. Meanwhile, CS:GO enjoyed the biggest growth in player shares in North America, where it grew by 47.5% to reach a 14.8% player share.
While CS:GO has been on Newzoo’s Top 20 list of most popular games on the PC for two years running now, this recent surge in popularity has been a welcome boon for the classic title as newer games such as Fortnite: Battle Royale have been encroaching on its market.
CS:GO’s major update had many Fortnite players turning their heads too, as 27.9% of U.S. Fortnite players that played in November 2018 but not in December 2018 tried out CS:GO instead. Both games had the highest rate of crossover as well, with 37.3% of CS:GO players in the U.S. also playing Fortnite.
CS:GO’s change to a free-to-play game had players of other premium shooters itching to try it out as well. 33.0% of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) players in the U.S. switched over in December, while the previous players of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege proved to be the most curious at 34.9%.
While many may have previously questioned CS:GO going free-to-play, as well as add a battle royale mode, it seems as if that decision has paid off handsomely already.