On December 6, 2018, Valve announced that their esports title Counter-Strike: Global Offensive becomes free to play immediately. Previously, the game was available for 13,99€ in Central Europe. Being among the biggest esports titles, this could have an immense impact on the scene and on the growth of the game.
Of course, the change will go alongside a lot of criticism. As CS:GO’s official matchmaking still suffers from the negative impact of cheaters, making the title free to play pretty much removes an important barrier that currently holds cheaters back from impacting games indefinitely. Therefore, Valve revamped their CS:GO Prime Status functionality. Until now, a user could verify a single account via his phone number to gain Prime Status. From now on, a Prime Status Upgrade will be available on 13,25€ via Steam only.
This change might target third-party game code resellers, that sold CS:GO for less than a quarter of its original price.
More information on the change can be found in the official F2P FAQ.