Will CSGO ever be free to play?

Surprising enough asking if Counter Strike: Global Offensive will be free at some point in its life is not a far-fetched question. Valve the publishers of CSGO have previously released a game called Team Fortress 2 free to play in June 2011,  almost 4 years after it’s initial release. With CSGO being 6 years old now it might be on valves mind to release it again free to play.

Why do people think CSGO will go free to play?

Counter Strike: Global Offensive has seen some similar updates to Team Fortress 2 including the release of weapon skins which has been a major part of both games. Dota 2 also another game published by Valve was released free to play and both updates brought in tons of players to these games. With these two games being free they mainly monetize these games by allowing players to unlock content with real money, this content is usually a randomly selected skin inside a loot box or loot crate. This same system is also used in CSGO with weapon cases. As of writing this, there are twenty weapon cases containing around twelve weapon skins in each.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive on the Steam Store
Counter Strike: Global Offensive on the Steam Store

Why CSGO won’t go free to play

Now used as one of the world most popular e-sports, CSGO has kept a steady population of players both staying in the game and replacing the one ones that leave. Although it isn’t growing in players like it once was, it definitely isn’t losing them fast enough for Valve to worry about the games population. By having a barrier to entry, in his case $15 it helps prevent a lot of hacking in competitive matches which would otherwise be rampant.

Players hacking the game to get advantages over others by seeing players through walls or automatically aiming have been around for a long and until recently I feel have been rampant within the CSGO community. Even e-sports professional players have even been caught hacking which included Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian from Titan shortly before the Dreamhack invitationals. In recent times though valves anti-cheat VAC has improved greatly as with other anti-cheat features including Overwatch which allows regular players to review player hacker reports.

With the game being based majorly around the competitive side and having the game to go free to play it would allow many people just to make an account to smurf. An account that is made to smurf is there to verse players that are of lower skill to them, ruining their experience. To make and maintain a smurf account the player needs to throw a lot of games over time to ensure that they get a lower rank then their current rank It would also bring in a lot of accounts which are just to ruin the game of others by trolling or throwing the game.

Example of a Wall Hack in CSGO
Example of a Wall Hack in CSGO

Valve has spent a lot of time trying to prevent these players from entering the competitive game mode. They’ve not only put in a time limit that a player can’t play competitive matches constantly in but they also introduced prime accounts. Prime accounts require a user to wait until they reach a certain rank and attach a phone number just to be able to play with others who are prime looking for a game. You can read a lot more about it on our Matchmaking: Trust Factor Matchmaking VS Prime Account post.

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