❘ Up to date: 2023-03-07T11:38:11
Following a new NVIDIA driver update, the floodgates have been opened for speculation about a sequel or update to 2012’s Counter-Strike. But is CSGO 2 real? And if there is a Counter-Strike 2, what would change? Here’s what we know so far.
CS:GO has had a handful of major updates throughout its decade-long history, but nothing resembling a true sequel. During that time, the number of players has grown year after year, thanks to the strong core mechanics, popular esports scene and a thriving digital economy of in-game items.
For all these reasons, a ‘sequel’ never seemed likely – why would Valve release a new version of such a successful and ever-growing game? But nevertheless, when ‘CS:GO 2’ executable files were found in an NVIDIA driver update, rumors reached a fever pitch.
Now a report from Richard Lewis has all but confirmed the release of a Counter-Strike 2 beta.
But what will CS:GO 2 look like? Valve would be stupid to kill the existing CS:GO because of the millions if not billions of value that lies in the skin economy. The engine may be outdated, but players have spent thousands of hours practicing to get good at it. There’s a lot for Valve to consider.
CS:GO 2: Source 2 engine?
The most obvious change for any new version of Counter-Strike would be an upgrade to the Source 2 engine. CS:GO currently runs on the original Source engine, which, while updated over time, dates back as far as 2004.
It is highly unlikely that this will be a “new game” – rather it will simply be CS:GO as we know it, but using the Source 2 engine. Think of it as a major update to the existing game.
Source 2 is Valve’s latest iteration of the engine, released in 2014, and is already in use for Dota2, Artifact, Dota Underlords and Half-Life: Alyx.
CS:GO is very rarely updated with new maps and minor weapon tweaking, but the number of players continues to grow.
CS:GO has yet to be upgraded to the Source 2 engine, and Valve has so far avoided any official confirmation that it will.
However, on March 5, veteran esports journalist Richard Lewis reported that the Source 2 version of CS:GO will be released in the same month and will feature 128 tick servers and an improved matchmaking system.
The new engine will also reportedly improve graphical reliability and optimization.
In terms of maps, countless leaks and data mining have shown that Valve is working on a Source 2 version of maps that will be tested as far back as 2020.
In July 2022, leaks confirmed the list of maps that had Source 2 versions so far: Shoots, Inferno, Lake, Overpass, Shortdust, Italy.
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What Source 2 would do is not clear. Valve couldn’t risk changing the core gameplay of Counter-Strike too much, but visual and technical improvements are on the cards.
On March 7, 2023, references to CS:GO in Source 2 were found in a recent Dota 2 update. It was found in the game’s code, showing cards, player models, cases, and sprays that were added to Source 2.
Although not concrete proof, it does show the existence of a CS:GO port for Source 2 made by Valve. And until official confirmation, this is the best evidence we have yet.
Will skins be deleted with CS:GO 2?
No, CS:GO skins, knives, stickers and other in-game items would not be deleted. The CS:GO economy is an incredibly important aspect of Valve’s business model, and removing these items or not porting them over to a new version of the game would destroy millions of dollars of value, as well as player confidence.
CS:GO skins have continued to rise in price – this AK-47 is on sale for $400,000.
It is estimated that around 30 million CS:GO cases were opened in February 2023, which represents an incredible revenue every month for Valve. Players tend to open cases because of the potential value of the items inside.
But while Valve would certainly work to keep the skins economy intact, it’s possible that Source 2 would give skins creators more creative freedom to create more intricate designs, textures, and pattern templates than is currently possible.
When is the CS:GO Source 2 update coming out?
Counter-Strike 2 will be released in March 2023 with a beta, according to Lewis’ report. At the latest, the beta will be released on April 1st (not an April Fool’s joke).
On March 6, when the new Dota2 update went live on Steam, it also included various CS:GO strings, as seen through Steam database tracker SteamDB.
Another CS:GO update tracker on Twitter, Aquarius, echoed the update and confirmed what it means: “CS:GO Source 2 could drop ANY day now. It will be a free opt-in DLC that will be available to everyone, who want to participate in beta testing. It’s real and it’s happening.”
Trademarks registered only for “Counter-Strike” have also indicated that “Global Offensive” could be omitted from the name. This has also sparked some rumors that the faction names ‘Terrorist’ and ‘Counter-Terrorist’ could be changed to soften the language.
So far, the ever-popular CS:GO continues to break new records in the number of players in 2023, more than ten years after its release, and that’s without major updates. Valve doesn’t need to rush to release a CS:GO 2.
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