If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

CS:GO - How to get Prime

Here's how to get a Prime account in CS:GO.

If you’re new to CS:GO then you’ve probably noticed the mystery that is “Prime” matchmaking, although it's fair to say Valve hasn’t really pushed its agenda either.

First off, don’t worry. It doesn’t cost any extra money now that you’ve already paid for the game itself. CS:GO Prime was an experimental service that was introduced all the way back in April 2016 as a way of trying to improve the matchmaking, which could be a little “unpredictable” to say the least.

Those who sign up to Prime are matched against others who hold Prime accounts too. The idea is that those with Prime accounts are more trustworthy than those without, which means that belonging to Prime-exclusive matchmaking queues will offer better games with less prolific cheaters.

While the result doesn't always match the ideal, it’s still worth signing up for Prime as there’s nothing to lose in potentially improving your matchmaking experience.

Below we’ve explained how Prime works and what steps you’ll need to take to get signed up.

What is a Prime Account?

Prime accounts were introduced by Valve all the way back in April 2016 as a way of improving the matchmaking system.

Once players sign up for a Prime account, they’ll be able to join a queue that’s only made up of Prime users. In theory, this rids matchmaking of bots, cheaters and the like. However, this isn’t always the case, so don't expect a flawless experience!

Prime Accounts are free to obtain and don’t cost anything to acquire other than game time. We’ll explain how this works in the next section.

How do I get a Prime Account?

Here are all the steps you’ll need to take if you want to get a Prime Account:

  • First you need to validate your phone number in Steam and then level up to rank 21 or above (Lieutenant). You’ll earn EXP for completing any matchmade games, so just keep playing until you reach this point. It’s Valve’s way of trying to make sure that you’re not just a new account or a bot that’s been created to ruin games.
  • Alternatively, you can get a Prime account if you have a Service medal. To get a Service medal, you’ll need to have been playing the game long enough to earn a “X years of service” medal, or one that commends you for participating in certain in-game events for example. There are many others, but essentially they all require you to have invested time in the game, and proved yourself as a legitimate gamer, playing CS:GO as intended.
  • If you’re eligible for a Prime account, click on the “Details” tab at the top of your CS: GO profile screen. Select “Upgrade” at the bottom of the pop up.
  • You will then need to link your phone number with your Steam account. Job done.

More popular CS:GO guides:

Prime Account: FAQ

Here are some commonly asked questions and simple answers to solving them.

Does Prime give you 100% protection against cheaters?

No it doesn’t. It’s questionable how much of a difference Prime makes to your matchmaking experience, but we’re certain that there is a very slight advantage to be had with the system.

You’re still likely to encounter the odd cheater here and there, but they won’t be as prevalent as they would be in the normal queue.

Can I upgrade more than one account with the same phone number?

Put simply, no. You can only upgrade one CS: GO account to Prime status using your qualifying phone number.

How do I change my phone number on Steam?

  • In the main Steam menu, click your profile at the top right of your screen then select “Account details”.
  • Under “Contact Info”, click “Manage your phone number”.
  • Enter your new phone number and click “Next”. Steam will send you an SMS containing a confirmation code. Enter it into the box to verify it. Once this step has been completed successfully, your phone number will be changed in Steam.

Rock Paper Shotgun is the home of PC gaming

Sign in and join us on our journey to discover strange and compelling PC games.

In this article

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac

Related topics
About the Author
Ed Thorn avatar

Ed Thorn

Reviews Editor

When Ed's not cracking thugs with bicycles in Yakuza, he's likely swinging a badminton racket in real life. Any genre goes, but he's very into shooters and likes a weighty gun, particularly if they have a chainsaw attached to them. Adores orange and mango squash, unsure about olives.