New records set while player base grows.

15:45, 19 Dec 2019

It may already feel longer ago with all the Counter-Strike going on, but it's actually been less than two weeks since mousesports demolished Fnatic in the ESL Pro League S10 Finals.

Organizer ESL has now released some statistics to go with the most recent season of its bi-annual tournament. According to these, EPL Season 10 had both the most watched regular season and playoffs in Pro League history.

Excluding China, ESL boasts 22.6M hours of content watched over the whole of the season, with an average-minute-audience of 52,140. This last stat comes down to minutes watched divided by minutes broadcast and signifies an increase of 38.94% over Season 9.

Considering that we already knew that Season 9 doubled Season 8's viewership, this continued growth is impressive. ESL Pro League Season 9 still holds the peak viewer record for the series, with 421,720 during its finals back in June.

A good year for Counter-Strike

It's been a year since Valve made CS:GO free-to-play and in retrospect the decision seems to have paid off. Even after the initial hype died down, the game’s player numbers have looked a lot better this year than the one before.

cs stats Peak concurrent players on Steam worldwide

It is also seeing strong growth in new regions, most notably China. According to ESL, the country made up almost half its viewership over 2019. CS:GO is seeing more regular play there as well, increasing by almost 200% compared to 2018. This means that, two years after launching in the country, it is now home to its second largest player base behind Europe.

csgo player stats CS:GO growth in China

Of course, all this increase has not come without its share of challenges. This year scheduling and exclusivity conflicts have marred viewer engagement in several competitions. We'd also be remiss not to mention the increase in bad actors amongst the player base after the free-to-play move.

However, while we may not quite be back in the glory days of 2016’s 850,485 player peak just yet, the scene is looking a lot healthier than it did just a year ago. Now, especially with even more competition entering the fray, let's work together to take the game to new heights in 2020.


Image via ESL. 

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