Skip to main content

‘CS:GO’ goes free-to-play and players are not happy about it

One of the most popular FPS games of the last decade, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), has gone free-to-play this week in a controversial move that has many hardcore players up in arms.

Developers Valve announced that the full game of CS:GO would be available to all players for free. Previously, the game had been relatively cheap at $14.99, but now anyone can download the game at no cost. There will be a premium tier available, called prime status, which will be given to players who have already bought the game, and new players can get prime status too by either reaching rank 21 or by paying $14.99. Prime status gives access to special items and weapon cases, among other benefits.

The problem is that the player base is deeply unhappy about this change, and the game’s Steam page has been hit with over 13,000 negative reviews since the update went live last week. There is already a considerable issue of cheating in CS:GO, and players worry that making the game free will only encourage the cheaters. Currently, whenever a player is caught cheating their account can be suspended or banned, but with the free-to-play model it is very easy for cheaters to simply make a new account and start cheating again.

This problem can be mitigated for those who have prime status, as they have the option to play only with other prime status players. In order to get prime status, you now need to provide a phone number as well as paying for the game, which makes it much harder for cheaters to create multiple prime status accounts. However, players who bought the game before it went free-to-play are given prime status even if they do not add a phone number, lessening the effectiveness of this system. In theory, playing with prime status matchmaking should lessen the numbers of cheaters who players have to deal with, but in practice many complain that there is still plenty of cheating even in these matches.

Another issue some players have complained of is that the update has made the game unstable on certain systems running Intel iGPU graphics. CS:GO is one of the relatively rare games that gives you something comparable to an AAA experience even on underpowered integrated GPUs, but the poor stability of the update is leaving some players unable to play the game at all.

Editors' Recommendations

Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
There’s a rare Xbox Series X deal happening now
Xbox Series X on a table.

Microsoft's Xbox Series X rarely goes on sale, so if you've been waiting for a discount before you purchase the console, here's your chance. From its original price of $499, it's down to $449 from Walmart for savings of $50. We expect the offer to catch the attention of a lot of gamers, so we don't think the available stocks will last long. If you don't want to miss this opportunity, you need to add it to your cart and push through with the checkout process as soon as you can.

Why you should buy the Microsoft Xbox Series X
The Microsoft Xbox Series X is a powerhouse with 12 teraflops of processing power and the capability of true 4K gaming. In our comparison of the Xbox Series X versus Xbox Series S, there are plenty of advantages in going for the Xbox Series X, including more RAM at 16GB instead of 10GB, double the built-in storage at 1TB, the presence of a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, and the ability to run video games with higher fidelity. If you can afford the Xbox Series X -- especially with this current discount -- it's the highly recommended choice over the Xbox Series S.

Read more
EA lays off 5% of its developers as it moves away from licensed games
Cal stands beneath the clouds in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor key art.

EA announced that it will lay off 5% of its workforce by the end of March as part of an initiative that will also see it move away from making a lot of externally licensed games in the future.

"We are also sunsetting games and moving away from development of future licensed IP that we do not believe will be successful in our changing industry. This greater focus allows us to drive creativity, accelerate innovation, and double down on our biggest opportunities — including our owned IP, sports, and massive online communities — to deliver the entertainment players want today and tomorrow," CEO Andrew Wilson explained in a post on EA's website.

Read more
How to turn on FSR on the Steam Deck for smoother, better gameplay
Steam Deck running Path of Exile and the S22 Ultra running Diablo Immortal.

Steam Deck is an impressive piece of hardware, giving you easy access to all your Steam games in one portable, on-the-go package. The handheld PC has only grown more popular with age – and while there have been plenty of competitors to its throne, Steam Deck continues to dominate the market.

Read more