CS:GO went free-to-play earlier this week. Also in the free-to-play update was Danger Zone, a new battle royale mode. A CS:GO review bomb campaign has started as fans of the game vent frustration with the new monetization model and post grievances about cheaters.
Of the currently 5,799 user reviews from December 7, an overwhelming majority have been negative. Around 71 percent of the reviews after going free to play have been negative. Many of those user reviews have specifically noted the free-to-play decision as their reason for rating the game negatively. One Steam user said, “I would recommend csgo before it became free.” That user has nearly 200 hours with the game. Another user, with almost 1,400 hours in the game, referenced the Diablo Immortal outcry. They said, “is this an out of season april fools [sic] joke?”
Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment announced the free-to-play update on December 6 and released it that same day. Danger Zone, the new battle royale mode, pits up to 18 players against each other in an intimate take on the popular mode. The free-to-play change lets anybody download and play the competitive first-person shooter. Free-to-play users are only able to play against other free-to-play users, but can earn or buy a “Prime” status. All previous CS:GO owners were upgraded to Prime status, which had originally been something players had to earn.
The CS:GO review bomb campaign is largely frustrated with Valve’s handling of cheaters in the game. Many are worried that previously Prime-only matchmaking will be full of bots, cheaters, and other unsavory types. On the other hand, CS:GO has its highest concurrent player count (thanks Steam Charts) since March of this year. The game has over 450,000 players at the time of this writing. Valve’s decision to go free-to-play will bring more people to the game, but it remains to be seen how many veteran players will be soured in the process.