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CS:GO Skins: Risky Rewards

Updated on June 11, 2019
Paul Garand profile image

I write classic "good vs. evil" creative writing pieces with smart twists inspired by vintage action cinema, gaming, and heavy metal.

The Most Expensive In-Game Purchase

AWP Dragonlore - The 1716.05$ sniper rifle
AWP Dragonlore - The 1716.05$ sniper rifle

Started from the Bottom

Counter-Strike started as a mod for the original Half-Life that was originally developed by Minh GOOSEMAN Le in 1999 while officially getting released by Valve in the year 2000. Since then, the game received many updates, progressing to then become one of the most played online shooters ever: the CS version 1.6. I doubt there exists an Internet cafe desktop or a school/college laptop without the infamous logo of a soldier taking aim. Finally, Counter-Strike received other iterations such as the controversial Condition Zero and a handful of console ports to the original Xbox and even old JAVA phones.

CS 1.6 Shortcut

Counter-Strike - Global Offensive

While CS 1.6 is still being played and updated (albeit by the community) today, the superior way to play Counter-Strike in 2019 is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive aka. CS:GO. Released in 2012, the gameplay remained the same with Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists fighting on maps to either rescue hostages or defuse bombs with more modes added later.

However, what really put CS:GO on the map aside from its classic gameplay faithful to the original was the Arms Deal update released in August 2013 - implementing weapon skins of varied parameters (e.g. the "Stat-Trak" versions of weapons that record confirmed kills and the "Souvenir" versions used by professional players in a tournament - represented with commemorative stickers on the skin) affecting their desirability.

Items either drop randomly at the end of a match and when the player's in-game profile levels up - dropping either a skin or a case containing one; requiring a key to open; said key is bought for 2.69$ on the Steam community market. Weapon skins, therefore not only look good but also are highly profitable for many parties starting from modelers and designers themselves to professional and casual CS:GO players to owners of skin gambling sites; unfortunately.

A Stat-Trak skin

Earning with CS:GO - My Experience

CS:GO's skin economy works for everyone who uses Steam, especially now where more items are obtainable in the game - gloves, weapon stickers, and knives. All of them commanding reasonable prices on the Steam community market place. Being a CS:GO player since 2014, I had many skins in my inventory; having sold them all, I was able to buy 3 games on Valve's service.

Sadly, the Internet is overflowing with illegitimate sites claiming to give CS:GO items for free. (Alongside malware, phishing, and spyware as a special offer) This is not limited to websites since Android apps claiming to do the same are in abundance too. For the sake of research, I got a throw-away phone and a virtual machine to test all of them out - results were not impressive or surprising.

All of them work the same way; relying on the user buying skins with proprietary "currency" that can only be earned through viewing ads and completing offers; that not always credit your account. Offers such as installing some dubious apps and even making a micropayment in one are worth more points than all other offers. Apps and websites work the same way. All that for skins that are worth maximum 5$ on the Steam community market.

However, it's not all bad when it comes to third-party sites since there do exist sites that seem to work as follows: Employing other CS:GO players with a sizeable inventory who then get notified of a drop to the user - who then receives a trade offer on Steam with the item in question. I tried it out and got some good items. The caveat here is that this site is in Russian.


Overall, skins in CS:GO can be profitable, however, before trying to monetise your favorite game, one must be aware of the risks where malware and phishing is only the start. Worst case scenario you can spend a lot of money and get nothing in return - all starting from false promises. Another caveat to this is there are many websites and apps profiting off of ads you are forced to watch to earn a pittance of proprietary pseudo-currency to buy skins within - if you get lucky.

© 2019 Jake Clawson


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