A new version of Counter-Strike, named Counter-Strike 2, is set to be released soon, sources told veteran esports journalist Richard Lewis. The release of a beta is expected as early as March 2023.
Following years of leaks and rumors about a version of CS:GO on the source engine, files from an NVIDIA driver update at the end of February showed a ‘csgos2’ executable.
This was the first concrete indication of a Source 2 upgrade for Counter-Strike, with the latest entry in the series, Global Offensive, released back in 2012.
The beta for Counter-Strike 2, using the updated Source 2 engine is due to release as early as this month, according to Lewis’ sources.
Counter-Strike 2 beta release
Counter-Strike 2 is apparently “ready to go”, with a beta version due for release in March 2023, with April 1 at the latest.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, sources with knowledge of the game’s development told Richard Lewis that the Source 2 version of Counter-Strike had been a priority at Valve, with one quoted as saying: “The big priority is getting this out and then polishing it, fixing any bugs and bringing it up to the level people expect from CS.”
The Source 2 version of Counter-Strike will apparently boast 128 tick servers at launch, a feature heavily requested from CSGO players. Additionally, an improved matchmaking system is planned to lessen the need for ‘third-party’ matchmakers like FACEIT and ESEA.
A group of professional players have already tested the game at Valve’s headquarters in Seattle, sources said.
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Will Counter-Strike 2 replace CS:GO?
What remains unclear, Lewis reports, is how the new release will be integrated with the hyper-competitive top level of CS:GO, and how it might impact the current skin economy. Whether the new game will continue to exist separately from CS:GO, as with previous iterations of CS did, or if we will see a merger similar to Dota2’s Source 2 version, is unknown.
Valve leaker ‘Gabe Follower’ followed up to Lewis’ report later on March 5, stating that the new game will not in fact be ‘Counter-Strike 2’, or rebranded at all. Rather, the final product will just be CS:GO running on the Source 2 engine.
For many players, there will also be concerns about the future of the CS:GO skin economy, with potentially billions of dollars of value collectively held in players’ accounts and on trading websites.
Skin aficionados and Gabe Follower have both downplayed the threat to existing items like skins and stickers.
Case openings and Steam market activity for CS:GO are a major revenue source for Valve, who will no doubt be considering the impact of Counter-Strike 2 on this economy.