This week Valve took a leaf out of Activision Blizzard's playbook as they released the much-anticipated Counter Strike 2, replacing in totality Counter Strike: Global Offensive. The 'new' FPS boasts the in-house Source 2 engine, previously used to great effect in DOTA 2 and 2022's Half Life: Alyx, and utilises a 'free to play' model that's supported by microtransations from the outset. As you'd expect, graphics driver updates soon followed.
AMD's Adrenalin Edition 23.9.3 launched alongside Valve's new shooter, also offering pre-emptive support for Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty and stability improvements for PAYDAY 3. The driver also boasts optimisations for Stable Diffusion, the AI art generation tool. This update is intended for users of Radeon RDNA-based GPUs (as far back as the RX 5000-series) on 64-bit Windows 10/11 platforms.
NVIDIA's Counter Strikes 2 release day support was already rolled into their GeForce Game Ready 537.42 - WHQL driver, a package that primarily laid the groundwork for Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty and Patch 2.0 of CDPR's core game. The driver nonetheless also unlocks NVIDIA Reflex when playing Counter Strike 2, minimising click-to-screen latency through a streamlined rendering and display pipeline. Users of NVIDIA hardware going as far back as the GTX 700-series can use the new driver, though some features will be exclusive to their latest generation of GPUs.
Counter Strike 2 itself hasn't been greeted with universal praise despite efforts by GPU vendors to offer great initial performance and stability. The game has launched without the inclusion of some features and maps present in its predecessor, prompting a minority of commentators to observe that its 'Very Positive' Steam rating - grandfathered in from CS:GO - may be disingenuous or even deceptive. If a negative reaction persists then Valve only have themselves to blame.
In a similar move last year Blizzard launched Overwatch 2 and simultaneously took down servers for the original game, prompting strong criticism due to major changes in both core game modes and the business model. Valve's marketing tries to make the case that CS2 is a major update to CS:GO rather than a totally new game; its name however supports a different assumption.