Does CSGO Cost Money?

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, also known as CS:GO, has been captivating gamers since its release in 2012. Developed by Valve Corporation, this first-person shooter game has gained a massive following with its competitive gameplay and intense action. One burning question on many gamers’ minds is whether playing CS:GO requires spending money. In this article, we will dive deep into the subject and explore the true costs associated with CS:GO.

The Initial Cost of CS:GO

Let’s start by addressing the most obvious question: does CS:GO come with an initial cost? The answer is yes. To access the full game on Steam, you’ll need to pay $14.99. This is the standard price for most games on the platform. However, there are ways to obtain the game for free, which we will discuss shortly.

One-Time Purchase

When you purchase CS:GO on Steam, you gain unlimited access to all game modes, maps, and weapons. Additionally, you have the freedom to customize your character with skins and other cosmetic items. Unlike many other games, CS:GO does not have microtransactions, so you won’t find yourself constantly spending money to progress in the game.

Free-to-Play Option

In December 2018, Valve made CS:GO free-to-play, meaning new players can download and enjoy the game without paying the initial $14.99. However, there are a few limitations to the free version. New players start with a lower rank and can only participate in competitive matchmaking once they reach level 2. They also have limited access to in-game drops and cannot trade or receive free items from friends.

In-Game Purchases

While CS:GO doesn’t have traditional microtransactions, it does offer in-game purchases in the form of skins and keys. Skins are cosmetic items that change the appearance of weapons and can be obtained through in-game drops or purchased from the Steam marketplace. Keys, on the other hand, are used to open weapon cases and can only be purchased with real money.


CS:GO boasts a thriving market for skins, with some rare ones selling for thousands of dollars. However, it’s important to note that these skins do not provide any gameplay advantage; they are purely cosmetic. The prices for skins vary greatly, ranging from mere cents to hundreds of dollars. Skins allow players to personalize their weapons and showcase their style in-game.


To unlock weapon cases and potentially acquire a skin, players must purchase keys. Each key costs $2.49 and can only be used once. While this expense might seem insignificant at first, it can quickly add up if you continuously try to obtain skins from cases. It’s also worth noting that there is no guarantee of receiving a desirable skin, making it a gamble.

Ways to Obtain CS:GO for Free

For those who don’t want to spend money on CS:GO, there are several options to acquire the game without opening your wallet.

Steam Sales and Giveaways

Keep an eye out for Steam sales, where games are often discounted or even offered for free. These sales typically coincide with major holidays or events. Additionally, various websites and forums frequently host giveaways for CS:GO copies.

Borrowing from a Friend

If you have a friend who already owns CS:GO, you can ask them to share their library with you using Steam’s Family Sharing feature. This allows you to play the game for free, though bear in mind that you won’t have access to your own inventory, and your progress will not be saved.

CS:GO Mods

CS:GO assets and gameplay are available as mods for other games such as Garry’s Mod or Half-Life 2. Installing these mods lets players experience similar gameplay without having to purchase CS:GO itself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions regarding CS:GO:

Can I play CS:GO on Mac?

Yes, CS:GO is available for Mac users on Steam.

Do I need to pay for a subscription to play online?

No, there are no subscription fees for playing CS:GO online. However, an internet connection is required.

Are there any age restrictions for playing CS:GO?

CS:GO has a PEGI (Pan European Game Information) rating of 18, which means it is recommended for players aged 18 and above.

Can I earn money from playing CS:GO?

While it is possible to make money through trading and selling skins, it is not a guaranteed source of income. Success in the skin market requires a significant investment of time and effort.

Is it worth spending money on skins in CS:GO?

The decision to spend money on skins is personal and depends on how much value you place on cosmetic items in-game. Some players enjoy collecting and trading skins, while others prefer the default weapon appearances.


In conclusion, while CS:GO does come with an initial cost of $14.99, it is not necessary to continuously spend money to enjoy the game. There are various ways to obtain CS:GO for free, and the in-game purchases are optional cosmetic items. However, it’s crucial to exercise responsible spending when it comes to skins and keys. With its competitive gameplay and dedicated fanbase, CS:GO continues to be a beloved game for players worldwide.

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