Is Counter-Strike 2 Free To Play?

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was released officially in 2012 and is available for PC, Mac, and Linux. In the summer of 2023, Valve released CS2, and ever since then, the question that has occupied players’ minds has been, will CS2 be free? After CSGO was released, it topped the Steam charts and became the most-played FPS game. 

Until today, Counter-Strike has maintained its place on the Esports stage and has one of the most competitive environments. New players are probably wondering if Counter-Strike 2 will be free since the other popular FPS titles, such as Valorant and OW2, are keeping the F2P type. So, we will break down if CS2 is free on Steam and many other details you need to know.

Is CS2 Free To Play?

Everyone is wondering: Is CS2 free on Steam? The short answer is yes. Counter-Strike 2 is free and will remain free until further information is released. When CSGO was released in 2012, it was not free to play. You had to pay for the actual game and later receive a Prime account. 

A Prime account comes with some benefits. First and most important is that you won’t have to deal with cheaters anymore. Valve created a system that prevents Prime players from playing with cheaters. Moreover, you have a chance of getting bonus loot boxes after a match. Later, in 2018, Valve decided to make CSGO completely free. With the game being free to play, another benefit comes from having a Prime account. That is, you can play competitive game mode with your friends. 

Regarding the release of CS2, many people wondered: Will Counter Strike 2 be free? Since the game is widespread and its Esport stage is big and well-known, Valve decided to make it accessible without any payment. Cases and keys still cost money, but like the rival titles such as Valorant and Apex Legends, CS2 can now be downloaded and played for free. 

Back to the question, is Counter Strike 2 free, the answer is yes. Veteran players will be pleased that they just received an improvement from the original CSGO, and the newbies can try the game without worrying about buying it. After all, you can not know when you will be hooked; you might end up climbing the ladder. The benefits of having a Prime account still stay the same, though, so if you want to play competitive games with your friends, you need to purchase a Prime account. 

Differences Between CS1 and CS2

Essentially, CSGO and CS2 are the same game. People might wonder why Valve would release the same game with a different title and ask the question, is CS2 free to play? Well, there are some differences between them that we need to touch upon. Let’s head down and look at them in more detail.


  • Optimized frame rate and graphics: Following the release of CS2, the game received a lot of tuning and engine changes. A significant upside of the original title was that you can maintain a high frame rate without sacrificing a lot of graphics and effects. CS2, on the other hand, received major graphic and gameplay improvements, map changes, and more. Though this means the game looks much better and different, it comes with a price. You need to sacrifice more performance to achieve the highest of the graphics. This doesn’t necessarily make it worse; it just means that people with older setups can’t run the game as smoothly as CSGO.


  • Differences in gameplay: The dream of the CSGO players revolves around fast and responsive gameplay. Unfortunately, CS2 struggled with maintaining the smooth movement as in the previous game, and that’s due to performance problems. The movement feels ‘’sluggish’’ and “greasy.” Regardless, the game is still in its early months of release; Valve will make sure to improve any errors with it.

  • Server tick-rate update: Alongside the engine change, Valved aimed to improve the server responsiveness. By introducing a sub-tick server update, the game registers the actions between ticks. The idea itself looks very promising, but we will soon see how it will work with future updates.

  • Sound changes: One huge difference with CS2 is the changes in the sound effects. The shooting sounds are more ” crispy, ” which leads to a better experience. The footsteps sound clearer and help players coordinate better.

  • Utility tweaks: One of the biggest changes in Counter Strike 2 is the smoke grenade upgrade. We can say that the most important grenade in the game received a major update. The developers made it so it can interact with gunfire, explosions, and terrain. It reacts to your own lightning effects, so it feels more clear to play around it.


In a nutshell, we answered the question, “Is CS2 going to be free?” The new Counter-Strike title CS2 is entirely free to play. As we mentioned before, players who purchased the first game will be eligible and get Prime status. If you’re looking for that, it might be a little late for you. 

But we can also that there’s no considerable difference between being a casual and a Prime player. Counter-Strike 2 can be played entirely free on PC, Mac, and Linux. So, if you are asking yourself, “How much is CS2 going to cost?” you have nothing to worry about anymore. Hop into Steam and start shooting right away!

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