Since the launch of CS:GO Danger Zone and, more importantly, CS:GO going free-to-play, the game hit record high numbers. According to Nors3 on Twitter, CS:GO hit its highest amount of players ever in December with over 20.5 million unique players.

Of course, the influx of new players doesn’t come without its downsides. It also opened the door to many hackers and cheaters. As such, the game also hit the highest VAC Bans ever in December.

Here’s more on the latest CS:GO records.

CS:GO Highest Amount of Players Ever

Going free-to-play was a huge decision for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Unlike many free esports games, CS:GO has always required a small purchase to play.

However, the move seems to have been fairly successful. Making the game free attracted many new players, leading the game to hit a record high number.

SteamDB shows that players peaked massively on December 8 and remained high throughout the month.

SteamCharts also shows that CS:GO had its highest ever amount of average players in the last 30 days.

Going free-to-play has rejuvenated the player base of CS:GO and will likely also be a big boost for the esports scene. It’s long been the leading tactical FPS in esports, and this trend seems set to continue.

CS:GO Highest VAC Bans Ever

While no cost means many new players can get the game, it also means hackers and cheaters will find it easier than ever to make new accounts.

SteamDB shows that Valve made a record 609,382 VAC Bans in December.

The previous record for the biggest ever VAC Ban wave was set back in July 2018. Valve banned 193k cheaters that month, including over 60,000 in one week.

The recent December VAC wave surpasses the previous record by miles, showing just how much free-to-play has made a difference.

Players can still do their best to avoid cheaters, though. Players who previously played are able to play Prime matches, which will separate them from free-to-play games which will likely have more hackers. Players can also upgrade to Prime for a small cost if they haven’t already.