As terrorist and counter-terrorist activities continue to dominate the news, and as game developers continue to exploit current events as the basis for new games, more and more players are turning to the original to live their escapist fantasies. According to Online Gaming Zeitgeist, Counter-Strike is still the most-played first-person shooter on the PC and is now actually more popular than at any point in the previous three years. Its technological update, Counter-Strike: Source, is also wildly popular, second only to the original. Battlefield 2 comes in an extremely distant third.
Of course, this stands in direct contradiction to Nielson’s numbers, which places the PC versions of Halo and Halo 2 well above the big little Half-Life mod. According to Nielson, 0.19% of PC gamers are playing Halo 2 in the average minute, while just 0.10% of them are playing Counter-Strike. Clearly, someone’s data is incorrect.
Though Nielson may have ratings gathering experience from years of television work, they’ve only been covering video games for a short time – less than a year, in fact. Online Gaming Zeitgeist, on the other hand, has been watching you play games for three years now. I know many people that still play Counter-Strike online on their PCs, and not a single person that even owns the Vista-exclusive version of Halo 2. In this case, I’ll believe OGZ until I have reason not to.