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Counter-Strike 2 limited test: how to play, game modes, and more

After a few weeks of leaks and rumors, Valve has finally announced that Counter-Strike 2 will be launching this summer as a free update to CS:GO.

Valve is describing Counter-Strike 2 as an  “overhaul to every system, every piece of content, and every part of the C-S experience” and “the largest technical leap forward in Counter-Strike’s history,” promising years of support for the game. It sounds a lot similar to how Blizzard handled the jump to Overwatch 2.

If getting announcing an update to one of the most classic first-person shooters of all time wasn’t enough, Valve also announced the immediate launch of a limited test for the game. Are you eligible to jump into the test and play Counter-Strike 2 today? Here’s what you need to know.

How to play the Counter-Strike 2 limited test

Soldiers in Counter-Strike 2 key art.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While both hardcore CS:GO players and newcomers to the series are itching to get involved with Valve’s Counter-Strike 2 limited test, getting into the program isn’t so easy. There’s no sign-up for the limited test — players are being selected by Valve. And it appears that veteran CS:GO soldiers and gamers who have played a lot recently will be prioritized in the limited test.

Players are selected for the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test based on a number of factors deemed important by the Counter-Strike 2 development team, including (but not limited to) recent playtime on Valve official servers, trust factor, and Steam account standing.

— CS:GO (@CounterStrike) March 22, 2023

According to Valve’s FAQ on the limited test, players are selected based on a number of factors including recent playtime on Valve’s official servers, trust factor, and Steam account standing.

If you are chosen to participate in the Counter-Strike 2 limited test you will receive a notification on the main menu of CS:GO. All you have to do is select Enroll and download an update that will give you access to the limited test.

There is no other way to access the limited test, so you should not use any third-party apps or websites to try to gain access. Valve has already spotted numerous scam attempts surrounding the game’s announcement and tweeted a warning to players.

Beware of scams. The only way to check for Limited Test access is to launch CS:GO through Steam and check the Main Menu.

Do not log into third party sites claiming to check your Steam account for access or offering Limited Test access or keys; there are no Limited Test keys.

— CS2 (@CounterStrike) March 22, 2023

There’s no word on how many players are being selected to play the limited test initially, but Valve has stated that more players will be added over time. If you don’t have access immediately, keep playing CS:GO and keep your fingers crossed that the option pops up! One thing is for certain though — the metrics Valve is using to choose players were gathered before the test began, meaning playtime since the announcement will not be taken into account when the player pool is expanded.

PSA: Idling on official matchmaking servers in CS:GO does not increase your chances of making into the CS2 Limited Test. The playtime that counts was your playtime prior to the start of the Limited Test.

— CS2 (@CounterStrike) March 27, 2023

The limited test is only available on Windows — sorry, Linux and macOS users.

What game modes are available in the limited test?

This first limited test will feature Deathmatch and Unranked Competitive matchmaking on the Dust II map.

How long will the Counter-Strike 2 limited test last?

There’s no set timeline published for the limited test, but Valve alludes to future tests in its FAQ section. It’s likely that there will be multiple test periods with new game modes and features until the update launches this summer.

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Sam Hill
Sam Hill is a journalist and the gaming guides editor at Digital Trends. He's also written tech guides for Input and has…
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