Valve recently announced CS2 to much rapture from Counter-Strike fans around the globe and it is expected to launch soon. The question on a lot of CS players’ minds is whether or not CS2 will be free to play at launch. If we were to go by its predecessor, CSGO, which is free-to-play right now, […]

Valve recently announced CS2 to much rapture from Counter-Strike fans around the globe and it is expected to launch soon. The question on a lot of CS players' minds is whether or not CS2 will be free to play at launch. If we were to go by its predecessor, CSGO, which is free-to-play right now, you'd expect CS2 to be free as well. However, CSGO was $14.99 at launch, so the speculation is understandable. The game became free to play a few years after it was released.

Is CS2 free to play?

Yes, CS2 is a free release. In fact, CS2 is not going to be a standalone video game release. On the contrary, it is going to be a free update to the existing CSGO.

CSGO has been around since 2012 and runs on Valve's aging Source engine. CS2 will be an update to the newer Source 2 engine with improved graphics and significantly better performance. The game will be available to download via Steam.

Source: Valve | CS2 will receive an engine upgrade to the Source 2 Engine, Just like Dota 2 did
Source: Valve | CS2 will receive an engine upgrade to the Source 2 Engine, Just like Dota 2 did

Valve did something similar with Dota 2 as well, updating the game engine and rebranding it. While Dota 2 got an upgrade to the Source 2 engine several years ago, it's only now that Counter-Strike's opportunity for Source 2 has arrived.

However, in this case, the new game is advertised as a sequel. This is also a similar approach to Activision-Blizzard's Overwatch franchise. Overwatch 2 released as an update to the existing game and made free to play.

Image Source: Valve | The Source 2 engine provides a major overhaul to the game's lighting and textures.
Image Source: Valve | The Source 2 engine provides a major overhaul to the game's lighting and textures.

Like with all its past iterations, CS2 will be monetized through in-game cosmetics. Players who want to try CS2 before its launch can try their hand at the ongoing CS2 Limited Beta test. However, the CS2 limited test is only available to players that have spent a lot of time playing CS2 and are on a Steam Account that is held "in good standing" by Valve. Players that are eligible for the Limited Beta are already playing CS2. In case you are and haven't begun yet, you can check your notifications in the CSGO menu for an invite.

As of now, it's unclear when CS2 will release but it's clear that news on a full release is imminent. Plenty of streamers and pro-players are already playing the game and the latest update appears to be quite stable. The game features a host of new features and improvements.

Stay tuned to esports.gg for esports news and CS2 updates.

Sign up to receive more Counter Strike 2 content from our weekly email

Create account
next article