The matchmaking experience for Counter-Strike has always been, let's say, hit or miss. The quality of the servers and matches themselves are one thing. But often the most contentious part of the experience has nothing to do with the game or infrastructure itself. It's the people — they're awful.
So Valve wants to change that. And in their latest update, they want you to help — by letting them use your phone number.
The whole thing is an experiment being run by Valve to improve the quality of matchmaking. You're more likely to run into an arsehole abusing everyone over the microphone than you are a decent, well-mannered team — so the developer wants to fix that.
Question is, how? The idea revolves around getting players to link their CS:GO account to their mobile phones. Here's the message that you're greeted with:
What's interesting is that you don't need the Steam Mobile Authenticator to register your phone number. That's odd given that, as Valve themselves argue, most people should have Steam Guard on their phones already — especially if you play CS:GO regularly, a community often targeted by nefarious types looking to part gamers from their inventories.
Not enough accounts have been upgraded to Prime status yet, but once that happens a new matchmaking queue will open for everyone who joined the beta. If all goes according to plan, people will somehow be more affable to play with knowing that their phone number has been linked to their CS:GO account.
Mind you, I can't help but wonder about the worst case scenario: when you rip someone with a shot so ridiculous that they start to hunt you down your Steam account and phone number because they're sure you're cheating.
Either way, it'll be fascinating to see how the experiment goes. If Valve pulls it off, it could be ported across to Dota 2.