Box art - Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

How to get CS:GO Prime status in 2021

A new update has arrived in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive that aims to make the game more approachable for everyone. Unfortunately, Valve decided that goal could only be achieved by paywalling many of the game’s best features. Now, if you want to play in ranked competitive matchmaking, earn XP, or unlock weekly items, you need to be a Prime subscriber. Here’s how to get CS:GO Prime in 2021.

How to get CS:GO Prime following June 2021 update

How to get CS:GO Prime following June 2021 update

Following the June 2021 update, the only way to get Prime in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is to buy it. The CS:GO Prime Status upgrade is available for purchase through Steam for $14.99.

This is a stark departure from the previous method of unlocking Prime. Before the June 2021 update, players could easily earn Prime for free. All they had to do was verify their phone number, then level up to at least Rank 21. Since CS:GO went free-to-play in 2018, it’s been possible to enjoy priority matchmaking and other Prime benefits for free for over two years.

That’s all changed now that the upgrade costs money. The move was made with good intentions: The overall aim is to reduce the game’s number of toxic players. On the Counter-Strike blog, Valve said the free path to Prime had “become an incentive for bad actors to hurt the experience.” Many players agreed. Perhaps griefers and hackers will reconsider their time now that spending money is a requirement to reach ranked matchmaking.

Is Prime worth it?

Whether or not CS:GO Prime is worth the $15 investment is up to you. Previously, the main benefit was for Prime matchmaking, where you’ll only ever be matched up with other Prime members in ranked play.

However, as of June 2021, only Prime members can earn XP, weekly item drops, or rank up in competitive matchmaking. Non-subscribers are limited to Unranked play, and thus will be unable to rank up or earn rank rewards.

If you want to earn rewards and increase your rank in CS:GO competitive matchmaking, you’ll need to get Prime. And for better or worse, after the June 2021 update, the only way to get CS:GO Prime is to pay for it.