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CS:GO has seen a growth of nearly 200% in China this year

It's fast becoming one of the biggest regions for CS:GO

CSGO's Aztec map

While CS:GO’s global player base has seen a steady increase in popularity over the course of 2019, one region has experienced an explosion of players in the last 12 months that has seen its player count increase by almost 200%.

Despite China being one of the main hotbeds for games such as League of Legends, the start of 2019 saw relatively low player count in comparison for CS:GO. However, throughout the course of the year, numbers have shot up and China is now one of the biggest regions for CS:GO players. It’s three main servers (Shanghai, Tianjin, and Guangdong) combined blow the North American and South American player bases out of the water.

Looking at figures from SteamDB, January of this year saw the Chinese playerbase at around 35,000 people. This has skyrocketed to around three times that number, with the player count peaking in December at 107,000.

CS:GO’s impressive growth in China: from a peak of ~35k players a year ago to regularly topping 100k now. from r/GlobalOffensive

With CS:GO’s overall player count at just over half a million, that means that the three Chinese servers are accounting for around 20% of the global player base. That’s roughly the same as the biggest single server, EU North, which has seen around 100,000 players a day in December.

The table below shows just how big China has become in comparison to other regions around the world.

Region (servers) December 2019 approx. player count
Europe (EU North, EU West, EU East, Poland, Spain) 250k – 270k
China (PW Shanghai, PW Guangdong, PW Tianjin) 90k – 100k
South America (South America, Chile, Peru) 40k – 50k
Rest of Asia (Hong Kong, India East, India West, Singapore, Japan, Dubai) 40k – 50k
North America (US North Central, US West, US South West, US East, US South East,   30k – 35k
Other (Australia, South Africa) 6k – 7k

Despite China’s strict regulations, the international version of Steam is surprisingly easy to access in the country and has its own servers, despite Valve and their Chinese partner company Perfect World saying that a Chinese version of Steam is in the pipeline.

It is also impressive that CS:GO has seen such growth in the Chinese market when up against a massive competitor in CrossFire, which is a very similar FPS published by Chinese gaming giant Tencent.