Will CS2 be free to play? Here’s what we know

By Kenneth Williams


Jun 28, 2023

Reading time: 2 min

Currently, CS2 is only available to the most hardcore of CSGO grinders, but will the game be free for all once it releases this summer?

Counter-Strike 2 hype has reached a fever pitch, with the new buy mechanics and Mirage map switch once again piquing players’ interest. As we inch closer and closer to release, players are coming up with just as many questions as Valve is answering. One of the most important is if CS2 will maintain Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s legacy as a free tactical shooter, which has become the norm for online multiplayer games.

While the answer seems obvious, the game’s developer has been notably silent on the issue. Is it a given? Or will the new engine also come with a new price tag?

Valve has not officially confirmed that CS2 will be free, but there are several signs pointing to that being the case. The first is that the game will effectively replace CSGO as Valve’s tactical shooter platform, so anything in that game sets a precedent. Global Offensive switched to a free-to-play model in 2018 with the release of Danger Zone, though the game did cost an initial fee before that point.

CS2 agent

With the current version of CSGO being free to play, it’s highly likely that CS2 will follow in its footsteps. Valve likely would have announced some sort of change to the game’s monetization in the reveal if there were any major changes. The limited beta test itself is also free to access for those lucky enough to get in, and it’s industry practice to offer beta entry on preorders for games with an upfront price tag. Valve’s silence on the issue all but guarantees the status quo.

However, don’t think your wallet will make it to the release unscathed.

CS2 will probably be free, but there will be ways to spend

While CS2’s core gameplay will almost definitely be 100% free, there will still be plenty of ways to spend on the game.

The famous skin economy of CSGO will completely transfer over to CS2, with the only major changes being some skin reworks to fit with the new models. Precious Katowice 2014 AK-47 crafts and blue gem karambits will retain their value and, if anything, will likely go up in price.

In addition to the player-drive economy, Valve will probably help players celebrate the launch of CS2 with a brand new operation. If so, the battle pass will provide plenty of opportunities to spend real money on gun skins, agents, patches, stickers, and who knows what else. 


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