A million-dollar industry.
The market of skins in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) has become not only profitable for Valve but also its returning customers. From rare patterns to flipping cases, people have turned CS:GO into their full time job. Compared to pros, they don’t earn from playing the game, but instead, they take advantage of the market's high demand for virtual items and turn a profit. Some players around the world own inventories worth millions, and spend their days trading skins like shares in Fortune 500 companies. Others purchase cases and packages in massive quantities hoping to resell them at a much higher price. Either way, these people are earning crazy amounts of money and they sure love showing it off.
SKINS, CASES, AND STICKERS
A key point to start at when trading is investing at a consistent rate—loading an extra hundred dollars into Steam every month with a plan to buy highly coveted skins. Do this a couple of times, and you’ll have an inventory that's ready to trade. Players often go towards the fan-favourites, the top-shelf weapons that all players enjoy using. Anything from an AWP to a Karambit - these are some of the highest-selling skins in volume. An AWP Wildfire can be used as a trading tactic, it has consistent pricing rates and is a well known skin. The Asiimov AK-47 is usually purchased in bulk due to its traditional colours known by everyone in the trading community.
Besides skins, flipping cases and sticker capsules in game drops are used for longtime investments. A lot of inventors usually hold onto cases hoping they’ll rise over time, pretty much the same idealism from people who purchase investment shares with risk percentages. Souvenir and gift packages offer the greatest high risk high reward earnings. If a professional CS:GO player retires or is involved in some sort of controversy, traders tend to purchase souvenirs with their signatures. Any group of legends or MVP players are also in high demand. Berlin 2018 (Gold) stickers can cost up to five hundred dollars with the right signature, especially if it’s from Kenny “kennyS” Schrub.
Sticker crafting has become a popular form of selling weapons over the past couple of years. What originally started from China’s biggest traders, became a popular form of showing off one's inventory. A cluster of Reason Gaming Katowice 2014 stickers on any red-based weapon is a knockout combo. Some more favorable options include the SG 553 Integrale and the MAC-10 Heat. For some traders, sticker crafting isn’t worth the hassle while for others it forces people to buy the skin, almost like a two for one sale earning more money at the end of the day. Sticker crafting is now a great way to produce content on YouTube, but it comes with a hefty price.
THE ART OF RESELLING
External websites on the internet have taken interest in the community of CS:GO traders. A handful of young entrepreneurs are now deeply involved in the aspect of making money from skins. Traders often switch back and forth between Steam’s market and other non affiliated websites. This way, they can get a grasp of the entire buy and sell user interface along with exceptional results. A lot of traders usually find better deals across other platforms and tend to flip their findings in trading groups.
One of the biggest upsets in the underground trading scene is scammers. The ones that use links with security risks to take hold of another players account. They use a combination of private VPN trackers and firewalls to hide their identities. Because of this, people have lost up to six figures in virtual items. Now that’s a lot of money to lose just from dealing with the wrong person. For secure results, only deal with verified traders in the community and stay away bot hosted websites. Stick around with the high rollers and use that valuable time to build connections with other players.
Besides the money earned from trading, some people have become pillars of the community. One player who goes by the IGN Bunny is known for his expertise in sticker crafting. He has one of the biggest Katowice inventories and has formed a group of fans. With a name that can be used for branding, players like Bunny can start their own blog, website, or application using their skin trading talents. A page on Reddit called r/csgomarketforum has become a meeting ground for skin trading guides. This way, people can discuss the best patterns and floats on their weapons. These specifications can result in an extra thousand dollars after a massive trade.
Trading skins in CS:GO has become a million-dollar industry. It’s a great way to learn skills in marketing, communications, and sales. People all around the world are now interested in getting a piece of the virtual gaming market.
Images via Valve