Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is officially free to download in the Steam Store.
Valve announced in a small game update several days ago that CS:GO will be downloaded for free, ahead of the 13th Major in the game's history, FACEIT London. Now it's finally available for download in the Steam client.
To download the game, go to the CS:GO page in the Steam Store, and scroll down to where it says "Play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Free Edition." From there, a large download should be queued in your Steam library.
The biggest downside to the lite version of the game is that it doesn't let players play casual, competitive, or community-based online games, which are the main features of CS:GO.
The Free Edition of the game gives prospective players access to offline play against bots and access to popular matches via GOTV, the in-game viewing client. This means new users can test their skills in popular workshop maps like aim_botz and partake in the pick-em challenge for the London Major without even having to buy the game.
It's likely that Valve made CS:GO free-to-download so that the player-base can grow while its prestigious $1 million tournament is going on. The last Major in January, ELEAGUE Boston, broke the Twitch viewership record for concurrent streams on a single channel at 1.13 million viewers during the grand final. The game's player base grew 12 percent that same month, according to Steam charts.
So for anyone debating on whether you should try out one of the world's best first-person shooters, now's your chance to pull the trigger. You won't regret it.