Despite its age of over a decade and Counter-Strike’s remarkable 22-year history, CS:GO has defied expectations by continually gaining popularity. As of April 2023, it boasted nearly 30 million active players and achieved a new peak player count of 1.8 million.
Valve, the creator of CS:GO, is aware that the game is showing signs of becoming outdated. Consequently, they have been diligently developing its sequel, Counter-Strike 2, utilizing the advanced Source 2 engine for several years. After a lengthy wait, the release of CS2 is finally on the horizon.
In March, Valve launched the limited-test beta version of Counter-Strike 2. However, the accessibility of this beta fell far short of expectations. Rough estimates indicate that only around 0.2% of current CS:GO players have been granted access to CS2, primarily consisting of professional players and notable community figures.
When will CS2 be playable?
The burning question remains: When will Counter-Strike 2 be available to the general public? Valve has confirmed that the release is scheduled for Summer 2023. If all goes according to plan, players can expect CS2 to be released sometime before October.
Valve faces the challenge of considering the esports calendar when determining the release date. Notably, there are significant CS:GO events on the horizon, such as the BLAST Fall Groups in July.
However, an astute data miner and leaker named Aquarius has suggested that Valve may not be overly concerned about potentially disrupting these events. There is a possibility that an optional CS:GO depot will be made available, allowing players to continue participating in ongoing tournaments while also having access to CS2.
What should you expect in CS2?
In the limited-test beta version of CS2, players have access to only one map, Dust2, and there are limitations on modes and features. For instance, activities like case openings and casual matches are not available.
However, with the full release of CS2, players can anticipate a much broader range of maps, modes, and features. Maps like Nuke, Inferno, and Overpass will undergo visual overhauls in CS2, enhancing the overall experience.
All skins and other in-game items will seamlessly transfer from CS:GO to CS2. However, during the beta version, some skin enthusiasts have noticed errors or discrepancies in the appearance of their skins between CS:GO and CS2. Valve has already issued some visual updates, and there may be more to come. So, don’t be too surprised if your AK-47 or knife skin looks slightly different initially.
Pro players are expected to transition quickly to CS2, and we can hope to witness the first official events taking place later this year. In fact, the next Counter-Strike Major, hosted by PGL, will be played on CS2 in Copenhagen, scheduled for March 2023.