Valve's slow burn trolling of Counter-Strike fans continues with reveal of 'CS2' trademark

A Counter-Strike chicken with guns.
(Image credit: Valve)

The Counter-Strike community has, for the last month or so, been convinced that a miracle is on the horizon. Exactly what that miracle will be is not yet clear, but the belief in a new version of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive using Valve's current Source 2 engine is strong, and equally so is the belief in a whole new version of the game, Counter-Strike 2. I mean, it would actually be Counter-Strike 5 or 6 depending on how you count them, but let's run with it.

Valve certainly seems to be doing so, and it looks like the first piece of hard evidence has dropped. On March 14, 2023 Valve was granted two trademarks for 'CS2' from the U.S. Patents Office. The first is for the trademark on CS2 as it relates to "Computer game software, electronic game software, video game software, [and] computer game programs downloadable via the internet." The second is more expansive in its definition, and in the inclusion of things like "competitions" certainly sounds like the real deal:

"Entertainment services, namely, providing online video games; provision of on-line entertainment, namely, on-line computer games; providing on-line computer games and on-line video games; electronic games services provided by means of the Internet; providing information in the fields of computer games and entertainment via the Internet; organization of competitions relating to video games, video game education, and video game entertainment; providing information in the field of on-line computer games and on-line video games and computer games."

I'm not sure what kind of education Counter-Strike provides but, to be fair, I could probably write a book focusing on my feelings about A long on Dust II (they'll never expect it!).

The main thing is that this is a public filing by Valve and, up until this point, the 'Counter-Strike 2' rumours have come from data-miners finding references that could point to the game in a Nvidia driver update and, last week, a whole slew of changes to the game's Steam backend. The official Twitter account has also, rather than posting anything, just been regularly changing the background in a well-judged piece of trolling. And while all of this is going on, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is just blithely smashing through all-time player counts, setting a new record last week with 1.4 million concurrent players.

I've asked Valve for comment on this before, and I'm going to ask again, but let's be real. Whatever this 'Counter-Strike 2' is—and it's looking increasingly likely after this it may be Counter-Strike 2—the Valve style now is just to surprise release it. It's all such a game, and certain elements within Valve are so clearly toying around with the community here, that you almost wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be Half-Life 3 instead.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."