Valve’s MOBA has earned its lowest average player count since 2014, now placing it below Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s peak and average players.
The problem with a game as huge as Dota 2, beyond the fact that it’s Dota 2, is maintaining any kind of consistency. When a game reaches the levels of success that Dota 2 has enjoyed for the past eight years, the pressure starts to fall on the game to justify why it deserves such success. A free-to-play game lives and dies by how many people are regularly logging in for a match, so the recent news that Dota 2 has hit its lowest average player count since 2014, which was just a few months after the game first launched, might surprise a few people.
Taken from the numbers so happily crunched by Steam Charts, Dota 2’s peak player count for December was 685,165 while the average player count was 384,179, which is a huge drop off from the peak player count of January 2015 where the game drew in 1.2 million players.
With Dota 2’s numbers being so “low”, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has now consistently pushed past Dota as the more popular of Valve’s free-to-player offerings. As of December 2019, CS:GO pulled in a maximum of 767,000 users. This marks the fourth month in a row that CS:GO has overtaken Dota 2, leading to what some might call a trend. Is this cause for concern for Valve? Probably not, given that they still own the two most popular games on Steam. It is, however, an interesting way to gauge player reactions to the many updates Dota 2 has received over the years, especially the recent Outlanders update, that changed many aspects of how the game plays, which was met with mixed reactions by players.
While it’s easy to point at these numbers and call it a trend, Dota 2 has historically been hit by lower player counts towards the end of a year. With the introduction of new characters, cosmetics and in-game events I’m sure Dota will beef up those numbers again. Many have cited that the game has become too stagnant due to a community that sorely lacks any fresh blood because of Dota 2 being widely inaccessible to new players, while older fans have not taken to the mechanical reworks implemented in newer versions of the game. With that being said, if one were to imagine a world without Dota 2, perhaps the dwindling numbers are more of a blessing than a curse.
Last Updated: January 6, 2020