Aspiring CSGO pros can no longer play ranked matches for free

Aspiring CSGO pros can no longer play ranked matches for free

This story about charging money in a free-to-play world, boiled down, in 2:34 minutes.

What's the fuss?

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), having been a fully free-to-play game for 3 years, will now make gamers pay to play the first-person shooter in a competitive manner. On the surface, it may seem like an attempt to attain incremental revenues, but it could be the solution to its ever-apparent cheating problem.

The situation

Since the series' creation in 1999 by Vietnamese-Canadian Minh LeCounter-Strike has been synonymous with competitive gaming itself and is largely considered one of the most influential first-person shooter games in history

Now, players will have to pay to gain full access to the games features

  • Although free players can still play most game modes, the Ranked Competitive mode (where players earn a tier based on their performance) will now be locked away and only accessible by purchasing a Prime membership for approximately $15 USD. 
  • In addition to other restrictions, this update has divided many on whether or not it will prove healthy to the Counter-Strike community at large.

Boiling it down

Simply put, CS:GO has had a cheating problem for a long time, even at the highest levels of play

  • The game does have an anti-cheat system, however it has historically been ineffective in preventing cheaters from ruining matches for others.
  • Compounded by the fact that cheaters face little skin-in-the-game (as they can just make another free account in the event they get banned), many have quit the game out of frustration over unfair odds.
  • Thus, implementing a paywall will likely deter new cheaters from entering the game entirely, mitigating its cheating problem.

On the other hand, the move limits how accessible the game is for new audiences. 

  • The whole appeal of free-to-play games for new players is not having to pay anything to start playing, in which they have the option to pay incrementally later through microtransactions. 
  • In order to stay competitive with its direct competition, who is free-to-play, CS:GO will likely need to come up with a new strategy to sustain its shrinking player base.

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