CS:GO – How to fix the ‘Failed to join session’ error?

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Over 20 years ago, the face of the gaming world changed forever. The burgeoning first-person shooter (FPS) genre, still in its early days, already had several influential classics. Games like Goldeneye and Doom in the 90’s saw the genre take flight, and by the year 2000 something incredible happened. A low-budget mod for the popular sci-fi shooter, Half-Life, became known as “Counter-Strike”. The developers soon signed off on an acquisition deal with Valve, and the game had its first official AAA release on PC. Now, two decades later, the franchise’s latest major title, CS: GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) is iconic in its own right.

Why did this game, in the age of other successful shooting game franchises, gain so much traction? What makes CS: GO so popular that it still gives Call of Duty and PUBG a run for their money? Part of it is due to the game’s originality: the concept of two competing teams over an objective, with smooth gunplay and movement, proved original.

The other reason is the game’s high skill ceiling, yet relative easiness when picking it up for the first time. The controls and physics, simple to understand, and the low hardware requirements make this game easily accessible to all. So whether it’s played at a casual party, or a ranked esports tournament, CS: GO is simply on the all time greatest.

However, we need to level with you here: this game is far from flawless. While you may criticize the dated physics and gunplay, as well as the low textures and max players limit, the game’s biggest flaw is the endless bugs. Several major issues in the recent months include drops in performance, leading to texture pop-ins, framerate dips and startup bugs. Unfortunately, the newest error is also equally frustrating.

The CS: GO lobby error prevents players from joining lobbies or matches online

The problem with this issue is that it renders the game almost unplayable. As the game lacks an offline campaign mode, online play is the best bet. Players affected by the CS: GO lobby error will see an error message popup. This notification will bear the words “Failed to join session”, and will kick players back to the multiplayer screen. This makes it virtually impossible to know if a friend invite to a private server or lobby will ever work. All that remains is playing on a new, player-owned server, which might isolate you from your friends.

The good news? It is highly likely that Valve is already aware of the issue, and is working on a fix. This may even come soon, in the form of an update or patch. However, until then, this highly-persistent error will require some troubleshooting. This means that a simple retry of launching the game won’t likely help. But fear not, because our nifty guide will show you the best ways to resolve the CS: GO lobby error. And remember, all of our methods come only from reliable, tried-and-tested sources. Let’s get started!

1) Restart your PC, then launch the game again

You wouldn’t believe how many seasoned PC gamers end up skipping this vital step. While other fixes may seem more effective, a good restart can really go a long way. This is due to the fact that your computer operates using numerous, intricate processes working in tandem. When one process develops a bug, often because of a malfunctional startup, it can spread the bug to other processes. As the bug snowballs and more and more processes grow affected, you get a systemic error.

To resolve this, restart your PC. This will kill off all active processes, then make them start up again cleanly. This will eliminate bugs and misbehaving processes, as well as free your RAM from misbehaving data sets. Then, try running CS: GO again.

2) Restart your router, and configure its advanced settings

It is entirely possible the issue stems from a network error on your end. Sometimes, an overflow of traffic can leave your network bottlenecked. To fix this, restart your router. This is done by turning it off for 30 seconds, then back on. Furthermore, experts advise using an Ethernet cable while gaming to reduce latency, and packet loss.

You can go even further to do your due diligence by tweaking some router settings. Contact your ISP (internet service provider) for login credentials to your router’s portal. Use this portal, once logged in, to access advanced network settings like enabling QoS and changing NAT type. The former (Quality of Service) works by prioritizing your gaming connection over less immediate tasks on your network. Meanwhile, the latter is necessary to reduce security in favor of safely increasing connection speeds.

3) Update your game drivers

The main heavy lifting done on your gaming PC comes from the graphics card, the GPU of the system. This hardware requires regular software updates to stay optimized and bug-free. This means that regular game driver updates help quash bugs like this CS: GO error, as well as boost performance.

For AMD drivers, you can look at their official site, here. Meanwhile, for Nvidia users, all you need to do is simply check the GeForce Experience app.

4) Verify your game’s file integrity using the Steam Launcher

One of the best things about Steam, Valve’s proprietary launcher and marketplace, is its UI. It is simple, not too cluttered, and useful. However, the best tool on Steam is the ability to verify game installation files. This is done by checking the records of file characters on your PC against those on the online servers.

To do this, navigate to the Library tab on Steam. Then, select CS: GO and head to properties, where you can see the option to ‘verify file integrity’. This process hardly takes mere moments but goes a long way of potentially fixing your CS: GO lobby error.

5) Reinstall CS: GO

Normally, this choice would take some serious deliberation for most gamers. That’s because of the massive download sizes, as well as the time taken. However, in this case, the game is a very small download. Unless you need 4K mods, you should have the best fix for the CS: GO error.

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