Back in 2018, Valve made the decision to stop charging for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, transitioning it into a free to play game. Now, the game is going through another major change, with free players losing access to ranked matches.
When the original transition happened, free players had access to drops, Ranks, Skill Groups and the option to upgrade to Prime matchmaking in ranked. Valve has since come to the realisation that this gives a path for “bad actors to hurt the experience of both new and existing players”.
Due to this, Prime matchmaking is now mandatory for all ranked competitive matches. Free players will no longer receive XP, Ranks, drops or Skill Groups. New players jumping into CS:GO for the first time, or starting a fresh Steam account will have to purchase the Prime Status Upgrade (£10.99) in order to play ranked matches moving forward.
Free players will still be able to play ‘Unranked’ modes in Competitive, Wingman and Danger Zone, which all have the same rules and skill-based matchmaking as ranked matches, but players will not earn a Skill Group.
KitGuru Says: This is a fairly major change and will hopefully reduce the number of cheaters in competitive matches of CS:GO. Do many of you still play Counter-Strike regularly? How do you feel about this unexpected change?