Free-to-play ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’ players have been punted from ranked matchmaking

The decision was down to "bad actors" who "hurt the experience of both new and existing players"

Valve has announced changes to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with a number of features no longer available to free players.

Previously, new players of the free-to-play competitive shooter would have access to drops, Ranks, Skill Groups, and a free path to Prime matchmaking, that is playing with players who have Prime status by paying for the game.

In a new blog on the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive website, it claims that “those benefits have become an incentive for bad actors to hurt the experience of both new and existing players.”

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Starting today (June 4th), adjustments have been made so that new players will no longer receive XP, Ranks, drops, or Skill Groups, which are now exclusively available to Prime Status players.

New players can upgrade to Prime by purchasing the Prime Status Upgrade from the Steam store for £10.89 / $14.99. Existing free players will need to upgrade in the next two weeks if they want to carry over their current Skill Group and XP progress.

The post reiterates that the game is still free-to-play, with new players able to access every game mode, play on community servers, and play workshop maps.

Unranked matches are also being introduced, which Prime players can participate in, which will allow players to play matches free of skill group restrictions, and will not affect their own skill group.

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Elsewhere, team-based competitive shooter Valorant celebrated its one-year anniversary while announcing a mobile version of the game was coming.

For its June update, Rust has also introduced color-coded names, real-world alarms, and more.

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