Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been a free-to-play game since 2018, but there’s still CSGO Prime – let’s see how it works!
When it was first published, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was a game distributed in a regular fashion by Steam Store. Its release price was an understandable amount of 15$ no matter the end platform. It garnered a lot of attention, and although the case opening system within a paid game was a bit controversial at the time, it has grown on its users, especially when the skin trade became a thing.
Fast forward a couple of years and with the release of its battle royale extension, Valve announced that CSGO is about to become free to play. Thousands of users who paid for the game, even if they did a while back, might have been rightfully appalled by that. However, the paid licenses were promised to be converted into Prime accounts. What does that mean?
In short, CSGO Prime is a bit of a VIP membership in the world of CSGO. It has its priorities and privileges above free accounts. The difference were then further deepened in 2021, when the non-Prime users were banned from leveling up and dropping skins. This blog post will shine some light on the changes in Prime status overtime and its current form.
CSGO Prime Account
At first glance, the original Prime status is nothing really outstanding. Prime users benefit from:
- exclusive matchmaking only with other Prime users
- extra souvenirs and item drops
- unlimited access to dedicated servers
- a visible Prime badge
Given that most of the game’s content was available for free, the amount of bonuses for the special price seems a bit low. However, the power of Prime status lies in the first benefit. Prime accounts have their individual matchmaking status, meaning that they will only be sorted into games with other Prime users. This guarantees a much lower chance of encountering a cheater or someone who doesn’t treat the game seriously.
On June 3rd 2021 Valve has introduced an update that has strongly limited the possibilities of non-Prime accounts. The biggest surprise was that the leveling, skill group and ranking systems has been turned off users without the Prime status. This had several consequences, which we will discuss below with every step.
How To Get CSGO Prime?
There used to be two ways of getting a Prime status for your Steam account. One of them is still to pay for the special Prime pass, which at this point costs $14.99, so the same as the license used to cost before it became free-to-play.
The other method was just to play CSGO a lot. Prime status used to be guaranteed for those players whose profile rank reaches level 21. Unfortunately, with the leveling turned off, non-Prime users cannot ‘grind’ into Prime.
As previously mentioned, Prime accounts take part in a separate, more trustworthy matchmaking. The contestants are chosen only among other CSGO Prime status owners. The system itself was first introduced in 2016, back when the game was still fully pay-to-play, but back then it needed the owners of a CSGO copy to register with their phone number, thus discouraging cheating players.
This has only grown in value when the free-to-play model has been introduced. If the game can be played for free on any account that has not been banned, this means it’s much easier to create smurf accounts or switch to a new account after a VAC ban.
With the June 2021 update, free-to-play users no longer acquire skill group and rank, meaning that there’s no real basis for matchmaking for them. They can only play with Prime users if the latter create a lobby and invite them individually.
Keep in mind that a Prime status doesn’t protect you from getting banned. You might get a warning cooldown if you break the community rules, but if the VAC senses any kind of cheating software while you play CSGO, you’re toast.
Is CSGO Prime Worth It?
It’s totally worth it if you’re concerned about competitive matchmaking and obtaining skins. No leveling for non-Prime users also means that they do not drop skin when playing.
Currently, Prime status is a requirement for those who want to get the full CS:GO experience. Whether you’ve played for a while now, or you played in the past and you’re coming back to the franchise, Prime status can make your life just a little bit easier. If you’re just a casual gamer and you play more in the non-competitive modes or on private servers, you don’t need it.
CSGO Prime – Summary
To sum things up, CSGO Prime status is a sort of a VIP access that allows you to be matched for competitive games only with other Prime accounts, level up and gain skin rewards, meaning that most of the game’s social and monetary features are now locked behind the paywall. However, the core mechanics of the game are still available for free.
Hope that answered your questions about CSGO Prime – if you’d like us to add any details, let us know in the comments!