Why does CSGO need third-party matchmaking to work?

By Steven Rondina


Nov 23, 2021

Reading time: 2 min

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has one of the overall strongest online multiplayer experiences in gaming, so long as you don’t count on Valve for anything.

CSGO’s deep gunplay and emphasis on teamwork and communication makes it a one-of-a-kind game. The trouble is that outside the core gameplay experience, pretty much everything else in CSGO kind of stinks.

So how did it get to the point where one of the biggest games in the world wound up being this bad? And can Valve do anything to fix it?

ESEA, FACEIT help fix CSGO’s many matchmaking problems

Valve has a big problem on its hands when it comes to CSGO’s public matchmaking, and it comes from a number of different issues that have been left to linger.

The biggest problem with CSGO’s matchmaking is the fact that it no longer effectively sorts players based on rank. A study done on the player distribution by rank was recently done in CSGO, which discovered that different regions have significant problems with how players are ranked. More than 50% of players in the North American and Oceania regions are ranked as silver, something that mathematically shouldn’t be happening with CSGO’s ranking system.

How this happened is unknown and the reason it’s unknown is that there are so many possible causes.

CSGO has long had an issue with hackers that just wasn’t being dealt with by VAC. Smurfing, griefing, and toxicity aren’t really punished at all unless a case happened to get directed to Overwatch. Even if a player got banned for these offenses, players could simply create a new Steam account and continue causing problems.

Third-party matchmaking services like ESEA and FACEIT offer solutions to most of these problems. They have extra anti-cheat mechanisms on top of VAC and have their own ranking systems that are better than the standard CSGO experience in many ways. On top of that, bad behavior is actually policed to some degree, so if a player is routinely toxic they can expect punishment.

Can Valve fix CSGO matchmaking?

Valve absolutely can fix CSGO matchmaking. The question has always been whether the company will muster up the energy to bother.

In the last few years, the only serious action Valve has taken to curb bad behavior was changing Prime matchmaking. This made it so players couldn’t create an infinite number of free accounts if they were banned, but will have to spend $15 in order to enter into ranked matchmaking or earn item drops.

That will likely have some effect over time, but the trouble is that players can still buy themselves extended periods of time causing problems for a fairly low cost.

Fixing things in CSGO would take work, but Valve has the ability to enact aggressive moderation and improve VAC. The problem is that the company just doesn’t seem to want to bother.