I’m a big fan of the Counter Strike series. With well over a few hundred hours logged on the series, I can tell you that Counter Strike is certainly a series that never really gets old despite its shortcomings in aesthetics. The newest title from the series, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, was updated about two weeks ago. The update put an “inspect weapon” command instead of the traditional flashlight (making darker maps much harder to play on), added suppressed weapons from previous games in the series (M4A1-S and USP-S), added brand new camouflage designs to the game, and instituted a system of “camo drops”. Basically, if a server has camo dropping enabled, at the end of each match, some people will be randomly chosen to receive a new camouflage to add to their arsenal. These camouflage designs can be traded via Steam, but a certain issue has now appeared: Some camouflage designs are much rarer than others.
“Why is this so bizarre?” you ask? Well, in addition to being able to be traded, these camos can also be purchased with real cash through the Steam Community Market. People can list the camos they want to sell on here with along with a baseline price. Here’s where things get bizarre: the relative infrequency of some of these camo drops has made some of them worth approximately ten times the actual cost of the game! You can see the price of weapon camouflages people have paid in the past for every new camo (Here’s a link to an expensive camo). The lowest price the AWP Lightning Strike camo was sold for was $22.55, which already exceeds the price of the game itself. The highest price it was sold for was $172.50.
Just the other day, I was playing on an open-mic server with about 40 people on it. At the end of the match, one of my teammates obtained the Stattrak Bayonet model for the knife (camo drops are announced towards the end of the game to everyone on the server). Almost immediately, two kids (who I’m sure were not older than 16) started arguing over who wanted it and were offering my friend bids of $60, $70, and eventually $95 for the rare knife (the current price for one of these on the Community Market is actually $398). For only about 25 minutes of gameplay, my friend was capable of making $100 due to the demand of these rare weapons on a video game.
Kudos to Valve and Steam for such an auspicious plan! These new camos were an amazing marketing strategy to say the least. Not only are more people playing CS:GO for longer periods of time in hopes of acquiring one of these rare camos (that can be sold for a pretty penny), they are also making money off of transactions that transfer possession of one camo to another person via Steam Wallet funds. These new weapon camos look amazing. But the amount of money that my friend, myself, and the myriad of other ordinary people have made off of being lucky on a popular video game far exceeds the sheer joy of owning something no one else does. I don’t know why so many people are drawn to such trivialities on this game, but I’m certainly glad they are.
Article by: Robert Bradshaw