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CS:GO update means new players will now need to pay for ranked

Certain features will now be reserved specifically for the FPS game's purchasable Prime Status option

An important change has come to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive that affects what kind of content new players who dip into it for free can access. As of some new adjustments to the FPS game’s free version – as opposed to CS:GO played with its purchasable Prime Status – new players will now have to fork out for a bunch of features they previously had access to, including ranked play.

While noting “it’s as important as ever that anyone in the world can pick up and play the game for free”, in a dev post announcing the changes, Valve says that, unfortunately over time access to features like drops, ranks, skill groups, and a free path to Prime matchmaking have “become an incentive for bad actors to hurt the experience of both new and existing players”. So, the studio’s made some changes to the goods on offer for those newbies not signed up to Prime.

Going forward, new players who haven’t bought the status upgrade won’t get XP, CSGO ranks, drops, or skill groups, as these will be reserved specifically for Prime players. The good news, though, is that newcomers can still hop into all of the game’s modes, community servers, and community maps.

New players can still opt to purchase the Prime upgrade if they like, and if you pick it up within the next two weeks (as of Valve’s post), your current XP progress and current skill group will get carried over, so you won’t lose them.

Additionally, Valve has introduced ‘unranked’ as a new feature. “When new players play Competitive, Wingman, and Danger Zone, their matches will still use skill-based matchmaking, but players will not earn a skill group,” the studio explains. “Prime players can also play unranked matches, where their skill group will not be affected and where there are no lobby skill group restrictions.”

If you’re keen for some handy tips for Valve’s shooter, be sure to check out our CS:GO smokes and CS:GO tips guides at those links.