Nvidia driver's 'csgos2.exe' reference reinvigorates CS:GO update speculation

(Image credit: Valve)

A long-circulating rumor that Valve is preparing to release a new version of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on its latest game engine was boosted this week after data miner Aquarius found a config profile called "Counter-strike 2" in Nvidia's latest drivers. The profile references "csgos2.exe," and there's really not much that could stand for besides "CS:GO Source 2." (Unless… CS:GO Splatoon 2 crossover?)

I had a peek at the driver data using Nvidia Profile Inspector and can confirm that the csgos2.exe profile is there (I don't know why anyone would make that up, but it's the internet, so I checked). A more explicit reference to a CS:GO "source2" Nvidia config was also posted on Twitter by Gabe Follower, whose name perhaps helps explain why the Valve founder hides out in New Zealand sometimes.

None of this necessarily means that a Source 2 version of CS:GO is imminent, but it wouldn't be surprising. Dota 2 moved to Source 2 all the way back in 2015.

CS:GO will probably end up on Source 2 eventually, so the bigger question may be how much it matters. When Dota 2 moved to Source 2, Valve added the Custom Games feature, which was a pretty big deal that ultimately led to the creation of the autobattler genre. But I've already played bizarro Mario Party in CS:GO, so custom games are well covered by the CS:GO map-making and modding community. Maybe Valve will add something else exciting whenever it brings CS:GO to its latest tech, but if it's really just an update to the machinery beneath de_dust, the average player may not notice much when the switch happens.

Actually, Gabe Follower recently tried porting CS:GO to Source 2 himself in lieu of an official Valve port, and said that he thinks "almost nothing will change" about CS:GO's gameplay as a result, except that spatial audio simulation may improve—the engine switch would be more about long-term, behind-the-scenes improvements, he thinks. Valve apparently asked Gabe Follower to stop recreating CS:GO in Source 2, which is not very surprising whether or not Valve is working on its own port.

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It's possible that Valve will go all out and the rumored Source 2 update will really feel like CS:GO 2.0, but the Counter-Strike data hounds aren't taking the Nvidia profile's "Counter-strike 2" name very seriously. There's also a reference to "cs2.exe" in the driver, but Aquarius doesn't think that means anything, either.

"Looks like 'cs2.exe' is not relevant, I think it might be a leftover from 2014, which can be proven by a leak from that time," they said.

I've asked Valve for comment, but it hasn't commented on the past CS:GO Source 2 rumors, so I suspect we won't hear more until it's ready to casually toss up a blog post on the topic on some random Wednesday afternoon.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.