Valve Shoots Down Hopes Of Playing Counter-Strike 2 On Mac, Here's Why

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Do play Counter-Strike? If you read this website regularly, there is a very good chance that, even if you don't play CS anymore now, you probably did at some point. However, there's a pretty low chance that you frequently played Counter-Strike in any of its incarnations on a Mac.

That's the ultimate reason that CS2 is not going to be available on macOS: because the combined audience of players on Macs, players who are on 32-bit versions of Windows, and players whose systems don't support DirectX 11 or better is less than one percent of the entire audience of Counter-Strike.

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Valve's statement on the matter.

Now to be clear, given the massive playerbase of CS:GO, that's still likely to be as many as a hundred thousand players, so it's a bummer for those folks who won't be able to continue playing the classic FPS game. Valve says that, moving forward, Counter-Strike 2—which has completely replaced the previous incarnation, Counter-Strike Global Offensive—will "exclusively support 64-bit Windows and Linux."

While Valve didn't say so, another likely reason for this change is that CS2 is transitioning to the Vulkan graphics API. Vulkan is a newer open-source low-level graphics API that allows greater control over the graphics processor and superior usage of system resources, including CPU threads and main memory. Unfortunately, it's not supported on macOS, so Valve would have to write a new render backend for the game just for macOS, and there just aren't enough players on Apple's machines to justify the effort.

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Many classic maps, like DE_Aztec here, have gotten reworks in CS2.

If you're a real hardcore fan of Counter-Strike affected by this change, you might be eligible for a Prime Status Upgrade refund. If you want a refund because your system is too old to play CS2, you have to have bought the upgrade between March 22nd and September 27th of this year. Mac users have to additionally prove that "most of their CS:GO playtime was on macOS.

Fans desperate to play Counter-Strike on macOS can still do so in some capacity. Valve says that there is a legacy version of the game available that has "all of the features of CS:GO except for official matchmaking." However, support for this legacy version is only continuing until the new year. After January 1st next year, the legacy version of CS:GO will still be playable, but Valve says "certain functionality that relies on compatibility with the Game Coordinator (e.g. access to inventory) may degrade and/or fail."

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After all the changes, it's still definitively Counter-Strike.

The release of Counter-Strike 2 has caused some irritation among fans, as unlike previous updates to the game with CS: Source and CS:GO, CS2 has explicitly and completely replaced the prior version of the game. That probably has something to do with its free-to-play nature and the way its inventory system ties into the overall Steam inventory.

CS2 isn't a particularly difficult game to run, and if you'd like a CS2 machine, we can verify that it runs well on the Steam Deck, the ASUS ROG Ally, and similar gaming handhelds. Alternatively, if you want a killer gaming desktop with the grunt to play CS2 in 4K resolution, all of the recommended hardware in our gaming PC deals post today can handle it with aplomb—especially that 30% off RTX 4080.