Valve is making it hard to resist buying the new Counter-Strike game. It's not just that Global Offensive is already on sale for $13.49, 10% below the regular price, despite going up for pre-order only yesterday. Valve is also offering early beta access to pre-orders, allowing them to start playing a week early.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is scheduled for release on August 21, but Valve says the beta will be accessible on August 14 to folks who pre-order the game. As I understand it, the game has been in beta since November of last year, but access has been restricted to invitees. I was never among the lucky few players to get an invite for the closed beta, despite signing up last fall.
In any case, $13.49 for CS:GO is hard to pass up. As we learned a year ago, the game is based on the latest iteration of the Source engine and features updated versions of classic maps, like de_dust and cs_office, along with some all-new maps. Valve has tweaked the mechanics and weapons and vastly improved the graphics over Counter-Strike: Source, the most recent CS game, which is now nearing its eighth birthday.
Oh, and you can buy the Counter-Strike: Complete pack (which includes all CS variants released to date plus Global Offensive) for $18.69.