CS:GO Prime Explained

csgo prime
csgo prime

Brief: Wondering what Prime status is and how to assign it to your account? Here’s how to get Prime at CS:GO.

Prime was introduced to CS:GO in April 2016. At that time, all you had to do to get this status was get 21 level of experience, and then verify your phone number.

But things have changed over the years and today the whole process of “Prime matchmaking” looks a little different.

In this tutorial, you’ll find out everything you need to know about CS:GO Prime. You’ll learn its definition, how it works, its benefits, and much more.

What is CS:GO Prime?

CS:GO Prime is a feature that is used to verify player accounts. Verified accounts can expect a more pleasant gaming experience and additional bonuses that unverified players will not receive.

what is csgo prime

Why was it created? Prime was designed to improve the quality of matchmaking by separating ordinary players from so-called smurfs (people with a lot of experience who deliberately play on low-rank accounts) and cheaters (people who use illegal software).

Good to know: Prime status is assigned to a phone number and not to a Steam account or game. This means that you can transfer it to another account by transferring your phone number.

What are the benefits of Prime status?

A lot of new players are wondering if it’s better to buy CS:GO or use the free version. As is common knowledge, a product that is offered for free does not offer the same quality as the paid version.

csgo prime status - benefits

The same is true for CS:GO Prime, which has many benefits and changes gameplay positively.


These are the most important advantages of Prime status:

  • Better experience: The main advantage of Prime status is that it improves the quality of the gameplay and gives you a better chance of an ‘even’ match. It makes it more likely that you’ll find friendly players with similar skill levels.
  • Less cheaters: Starting a match in Prime mode means a better chance of hitting honest players who don’t cheat or use illegal software.
  • Access to all servers: In addition, players who have decided to buy Prime can join and use all servers managed by the community (including those VAC-secure).
  • Additional bonuses: Last but not least, there are various bonuses and in-game items (souvenirs, skins and mailboxes) available only to players with a Prime account.

Authors note: If you've just activated your Prime status and are looking for a way to get higher rank, try our training plan. ?

How did Prime change CS:GO?

With the arrival of many exciting games that were free to play, some players decided not to continue playing CS:GO. The scale of the problem was so serious that a lot of people were asking themselves if “CS:GO had died”.

average players after adding prime status in cs:go

You could say that the developers came at the perfect time to add Prime status and make CS:GO a free game. This feature has changed the game completely and breathed a second life into it.


This is how the game changed after the addition of Prime:

  • More players online: Even though CS:GO was experiencing a huge drop in players between 2018 and 2019, a few months after the addition of Prime, the online player record was broken. In December 2019, 900,000 people were playing simultaneously.
  • Less cheaters in Prime mode: Even though Prime matchmaking doesn’t guarantee a game without cheaters, it greatly increases the likelihood of fair play. Most rogue players use non-Prime mode.
  • Playing for free: With the addition of Prime status, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has become free. If you want to ‘just play’ or see if this game suits your tastes, you can do it without spending money.

How does Prime matchmaking work?

The principle of Prime matchmaking is very simple. Players with a verified CS:GO Prime account are given the opportunity to play with other players with this status.

prime matchmaking

This obviously works both ways. If you don’t have a Prime account, you can start matchmaking, but you will play with players who don’t have a Prime account either.

If you intend to join the waiting room with players who don’t have Prime status, your game will automatically go into non-Prime mode (people playing free to play or without an active Prime account).


Here are 2 sample scenarios:

  • If you are a Prime player and you join the waiting room with another Prime players, the entire match will be played in Prime mode.
  • If you are a Prime player and join the waiting room with at least 1 non-Prime player, the match will go into non-Prime mode.

Good to know: Prime status is not an anti-cheat software and does not guarantee a game without cheaters. However, it helps to reduce the probability of playing with them.

As you can see, your friends influence whether or not you play in Prime mode. Convince them to get that status!

How to get CS:GO Prime?

Getting started in Prime mode and joining secure Valve servers brings many of the benefits you’ve learned in the previous section of this guide. Now you probably want to learn how to get CS:GO Prime.

get csgo prime on steam

Here are 2 ways to activate Prime matchmaking:

1. Get Prime for free

The first way to get Prime status is fully free. When something is free, it usually has some disadvantages. In this case, the downside is that you have to devote some time and confirm your phone number.

Here’s what you need to do to get Prime status for free:

  • Step 1: Reach 21 profile level (Lieutenant) in CS:GO. To achieve this level, you must earn 100,000 XP by playing on official servers. The most cost-effective way to achieve the experience points is in tournament mode, but it requires the whole team to play together. If you want to soloq and play well individually, casual mode is the best way.
  • Step 2: Verify your phone number on Steam. To assign a phone number go to Steam > Settings > Account > View account details > Manage your phone number. After you have entered the number, you will receive an SMS with the verification code.
  • Step 3: Click “Play” and start Prime matchmaking. Once you have verified the number and reached 21 level, you don’t have to do anything more. Prime status will be granted automatically.

2. Buy Prime on Steam

Another way to get a Prime is to buy it at the Steam store. Immediate access to a Prime account costs $14.99 (US) / €13.25 (Europe).

If you are looking for this, you can buy a Prime here.

Tip: Players who have bought and played CS:GO for a maximum of 5 years before the update on December 6, 2018, will receive Prime status automatically. So if you ordered a game before it became free to play, you don't have to do anything else.

Frequently asked questions

It’s possible that you’re a geek, just like us, and you’re interested in such topics and want to know everything. If you haven’t found the answer to your question above, you will most likely find it here.

Can non-Prime players play with Prime players?

Yes, Prime players can join the waiting room with non-Prime players. However, this is not recommended, because if at least one person is not a Prime user, the whole team automatically joins the non-Prime queue.

Is Prime worth it?

Definitely! Cheaters take advantage of the fact that CS:GO is a free game. Once they get a VAC ban, they can effortlessly create a new account and continue cheating. If they were to buy a Prime account every time, it would be very expensive for them.

Can I disable or delete Prime?

No, you can’t disable Prime status at CS:GO. But you can transfer it to another account. To do this, delete the phone number from your Steam account, create a new account and add the previously deleted number to it.

How can I change my phone number to Steam?

To change your phone number, open Steam and go to your profile. Then click on “Account details” and under “Contact info”, select “Manage your phone number”. Enter the new number and confirm it with an SMS code.

Authors note: If you dream of becoming a semi-professional, definitely check out our training. ?

Project & content manager @ CSGO-tutorial.com (yes, I'm the guy responsible for what lands on this website). Living in papitoLand, playing Counter-Strike since CS 1.5, trying to change the world with small great things.
  • Hi, i want to know about two different prime. What is different about getting prime by playing to lvl 21 and buying lvl 21. Some people say, it’s different. I just want to know how it’s different.

    • (This question was answered before the latest adjustment to Prime on 3 June, 2021, and therefore will be answered that way)
      Ranking up to Prime doesn’t give you access to the CS:GO Developer SDK… That’s the only difference.
      The only way to get access to these tools, is to buy them.
      Now non-Prime players can no longer rank into Prime, so the only way to get Prime is to purchase it, meaning you will have the SDK.
      If you ranked into Prime before the update, you still won’t have access to the SDK without buying it.

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