Counter-Strike 2, the fifth iteration of Valve’s ever-popular first-person shooter series, finally receives a full release and replaces Counter-Strike: Global Offensive as a free update.
Following an official announcement earlier this year in March, Counter-Strike 2 entered a “limited test” period and was only available to a handful of pre-selected professional players, content creators, streamers, casters, and analysts in the scene.
Since then, Valve has steadily increased the scope of that limited test by inviting more of CS:GO’s ever-growing player base. The developer released regular improvements and bug fixes to the game based on feedback from its passionately vocal pool of testers. It also released updates to each of the maps in the current active duty pool with some receiving minor improvements while others got a complete overhaul.
Counter-Strike 2 is finally here
Then, last week Wednesday, when the official Counter-Strike X account posted the simple question, “What are you doing next Wednesday?” the community lit up with anticipation for the game’s full release. That anticipation grew when Valve began shutting down CS:GO servers, with this unofficial Steam status page receiving close to one million views in an hour.
The switchover happened just before 23h00 SAST when the CS account posted this video.
— CS2 (@CounterStrike) September 27, 2023
It only took about an hour after the update shipped as players around the world waited for theirs to download and install before over a million concurrent players were playing the first games of CS 2.
And it took even less time for streamers to unbox or trade up high-value cosmetic skins, like ex-Overwatch professional player-turned-streamer xQc, who received a $1,350 (R25,900) knife skin, a $15,500 (R297,350) AWP skin, a different $17,620 (R338,000) AWP skin, and a $5,200 (R99,750) AK-47 skin.
Thus, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was replaced by Counter-Strike 2 after more than ten years of showing gamers they aren’t as good at FPS games as they thought they were. Like CS:GO before it, CS 2 remains free-to-play for casual players with a Prime account upgrade costing R285.
To see a full list of changes (there are a lot) from the big update or subsequent smaller patches, head to the Counter-Strike 2 blog.