Response to the Counter-Strike 2 update is muted, except in China
October 16th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

Response to the Counter-Strike 2 update is muted, except in China

The release of Counter-Strike 2 appears to have slid under the radar among gamers in the US, UK and Germany, data from YouGov BrandIndex shows. The new version of the popular FPS title was launched late last month, with CS:GO players receiving a mandatory update to the new title.

Following the update, Buzz scores for the CS:GO franchise remained fairly steady in our Western markets, even inching slightly downwards in the US and UK, while showing marginal uptick among gamers in Germany. The story was quite different in China, where Buzz among gamers began trending upwards about a week out from the launch date – a trend that accelerated sharply after the launch of the updated version, spiking to a high of 17.4 on October 1, doubling from the 8.6 it registered on September 20.

A video game franchise’s Buzz score is the net score of those hearing positive things about a franchise minus those hearing negative things about it. Attention scores, which reflect the percentage of consumers hearing anything – negative or positive – about a franchise, reveal that news about the franchise simply hasn’t registered with gamers in the Western markets.

Consideration rates – which highlight the share of consumers who would consider playing a video game – reveal that gamers in China have grown keener to play the title. Nearly a quarter of them on October 10 said they would consider playing it (24%), up two times from the day of the update (12%). 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that they haven’t heard too much about the franchise in the first place, scores have stayed stable in the three other markets in our analysis.

What could explain the spike in interest in China?

One possibility is that China simply takes the franchise more seriously in general. Out of 38 markets we track on Global Fan Profiles, consumers in China are most likely to say that they watch or follow the CS:GO esports scene at 11%.

It had been reported that China could be the venue for hosting the second CS2 Majors in 2024. While this news isn’t confirmed, it lends some credence to the theory that the increased interest in Counter-Strike in China could be tied to esports interest.

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Methodology: YouGov BrandIndex collects data on major video gaming franchises. Buzz score is based on the questions: “Over the past two weeks, which of the following video games have you heard something positive about?” and “Now which of the following video games have you heard something negative about?” and delivered as a net score between –100 and +100. Scores are based on a 4-week moving average among PC/Console gamers in each market. Scores are based on an average sample size of 232 gamers in the UK, 404 in the US, 132 in China and 392 in Germany.