Anti-mobilisation protestors in Russia shout 'we are not meat'
Sky News

Gamer numbers playing videogame Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) dropped significantly recently and some people think it was because of Vladimir Putin’s military mobilization.

On 21 September, the Russian leader broadcasted a pre-recorded video on Russian state TV declaring partial mobilisation of 300,000 reservists to support its war in Ukraine.

The news shocked many young Russians in line for the draft, who appeared to be fleeing the country in large numbers after the announcement was made.

While this was taking place, the popular video game CS:GO reported a noticeable dip in players.

According to gaming site Leetify, Russians make up a massive 11.65 per cent of the game’s overall players, leading many to put the two events together.

Online platform Steam Charts, analyses the player numbers for Steam games and noted that in the hours following the mobilisation announcement, CS:GO saw a large dip in Russian players.

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Overall, the game saw a 300,000 drop in players – typically their demographic is males between 19 and 30 years of age which is also the same as military age in Russia.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Russia’s real-world military activity has been reflected in CS:GO.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many gamers were left furious after some Russian players were accused of using the letter “Z” in their gamer stickers.

It’s not completely clear what the letter stands for, but it has been seen throughout the war on Russian military equipment and become a recognised symbol of pro-Russian national identity.

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