Can You Play Competitive CSGO Without Prime?

If you have started playing CSGO recently, you might have come across the term CSGO Prime. Your friend might have told you that you need it to play Competitive CSGO. But is that even true? Wasn’t CSGO a free-to-play game?

The short answer to that question is no. You can not play Competitive CSGO without Prime. If you want to play Competitive CSGO and start ranked matchmaking, you need to purchase prime. Here is an in-depth explanation of that.

Key Takeaways

  • CSGO Prime is necessary to access certain features in the game, including Competitive Skill Groups, which are required to play in ranked matches.
  • Without CSGO Prime, players can only play casual modes, and they will not receive a Competitive Skill Group or be able to participate in ranked matchmaking.
  • The only way to obtain CSGO Prime is by purchasing it for $14.99. Players who purchased the game before it became free-to-play already have Prime Status enabled.

What is CSGO Prime?

Ever wanted to be a part of a VIP club? If you have CSGO Prime, you are a part of the CSGO Prime club. But what exactly is CSGO Prime?

There are two versions of CSGO. There is a free-to-play version and the other being CSGO Prime. Some people might think that CSGO Prime is a completely different game, but both are actually the same games.

When players create a new account and start playing CSGO for free, they don’t get access to all the features. CSGO Prime is a status that a player can acquire, which will unlock all those game features.

What is Competitive CSGO?

Competitive is the flagship game mode for CSGO. It is also the main game mode that makes CSGO what it is. When a CSGO player starts the Competitive game mode, they get placed in a match where their gameplay is analyzed. After several matches, the game issues a Competitive Skill Group to them.

The Competitive Skill Groups are made up of ranks starting from Silver 1 to Global Elite. These Ranks describe how skilled you are. If you start performing better in Competitive matches, you get a higher Competitive Skill Group and move up the Ranks.

Can I Play Competitive CSGO Without Getting CSGO Prime?

As we have mentioned, CSGO Prime and the free-to-play version of CSGO are basically the same games. There are no gameplay differences, and you don’t have to download separate game files for CSGO Prime. The only difference is that you can’t access certain features without Prime.

One of the features blocked behind the Prime Status is the Competitive Skill Groups. So, the answer to the question is no. Sadly, you can’t play the Competitive game mode of CSGO without getting CSGO Prime. You can play other game modes like casual.

Official Stance of Valve on the Situation

According to the official Steam Support thread for CS: GO – Prime Status and Free to Play, players that don’t have the Prime Status will not have access to Ranked Matchmaking. The thread also states that players without the Prime Status will not get issued a Competitive Skill Group.

When CSGO became free to play, Ranked Matchmaking was completely free for everyone. Players had to play a certain number of Casual matches to unlock it.

However, because of the influx of cheaters and hackers creating new accounts whenever they got banned, CSGO had to remove the Ranked Matchmaking feature from free-to-play and lock it behind the Prime Status.

How to Get CSGO Prime?

The only way that you can currently get Prime Status on a free-to-play CSGO account is by purchasing it. You can purchase the Prime Status in-game. Or you can also get it from the Steam Store.

Regardless of where you buy it from, you will be paying an amount of $14.99 for it. However, for players who purchased the game before it became free-to-play, their accounts will have Prime Status enabled.


You can not play Competitive CSGO, get a Competitive Skill Group, or be able to get into Ranked Matchmaking without getting CSGO Prime. If you want to play Competitive CSGO, you need to purchase the CSGO Prime Status for $14.99.


What is CSGO Prime?

CSGO Prime is a status that a player can acquire by purchasing it, which unlocks all the game features.

What is the Competitive mode in CSGO?

Competitive mode is the main game mode in CSGO, where players are ranked based on their performance and placed in matches with similarly skilled players.

Can I play Competitive CSGO without Prime?

No, you cannot play Competitive CSGO without Prime. Prime Status is required to access the Competitive Skill Groups necessary to participate in ranked matchmaking.

Can I play other game modes without Prime?

Yes, you can play other game modes like casual without Prime, but you will not have access to certain features like Competitive Skill Groups.

How much does CSGO Prime cost?

CSGO Prime can be purchased for $14.99 in-game or through the Steam Store.

If I purchased CSGO before it became free-to-play, do I have Prime Status?

If you purchased CSGO before it became free-to-play, your account already has Prime Status enabled.

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