Current and historic sc2 population counts for teams (not players). The data is calculated by counting all teams ranked in a season.
Having several ranked races will make that team be counted once for each race. If a player plays in multiple regions in identical teams that team will be counted several times for the world total. The region numbers are a more accurate way to count players. But the best way to estimate activity is games/day.
Current 1v1 Population
The current number of ranked teams in each region. Select version to see numbers for LotV, HotS or WoL.
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Ladder 1v1 Population Over Time
The graph shows the number of ranked teams over time. Seasons are marked by the colored sections of the x-axis. Mouse over on points to see date, season, season age and exact number for that point.
It is not that easy to compare population between seasons since the seasons have different length and players play at irregular intervals. One more informative way to compare seasons is to compare the population when the season is a few weeks old, unfortunately that data is not available for season 15 and 16 so there is no graph option to display that. It is possible to only show the final ladder population in each season by selecting "Season Last" but note that the last season is not yet completed.
Another measurement of population is average games played per day. The numbers are calculated as a delta of games played and days from the point before.
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It seems to always be more games played per day in the beginning of a season so the current season total average may not be that comparable.