In a recent announcement that caught the entire CSGO community by surprise, Valve has confirmed that Prime CSGO will no longer continue to be free and players will have to pay to enjoy the benefits of Prime matchmaking.
Furthermore, the Non-Prime experience has also received a complete revamp. Moving forward, non-prime players will no longer be able to enjoy item drops, ranks, or even XP from playing. This will render them unable to move up to Prime by simply playing the game.
CSGO Prime Update
Ranked matchmaking has been restricted to Prime players only. However, Non-prime players will be able to enjoy every other game mode like Casual, Workshop maps, Deathmatch, or the newly implemented ‘Unranked’ mode.
The Unranked game mode can be considered as a replacement for Scrimmage, which has now been removed from the game.
This unranked matchmaking, similar to scrimmage, won’t affect the ranks of players. Players can play every map in unranked, and it’ll have no lobby skill restriction.
Players will be placed from a mixed pool of Prime and Non-Prime players in unranked matchmaking, whereas ranked will strictly be Prime-only.
“When new players play Competitive, Wingman, and Danger Zone, their matches will still use skill-based matchmaking, but players will not earn a Skill Group,” Valve stated in their blog post.
To put it simply, the existing free path to Prime has been completely shut down by Valve. Newer players can choose to buy the Prime upgrade in the next two weeks to carry their current Skill Group and XP progress.