Customization has always been important in gaming culture. Early on in the evolution of video games, these features related to characters. Gamers could choose what their character wore in certain RPGs. Eventually, character customization reflected development and advancement in the game.
For certain video game categories, customization was limited. RPGs lent well to personalization of all stripes, as games feature narrative elements. Many video games have fewer aspects that can be customized. First-person shooters, for example, offer limited opportunities for customization given gameplay.
This changed back in 2013 when Counter-Striker: Global Offensive developer Valve decided to launch a skins campaign. Valve began offering random skin rewards to players in order to renew interest by adding a new element of chance. This coincided with the eSports boom.
Today, CS: GO is one of the most bet-on eSports games in the world and contributes to the industry’s global worth of over $1 billion (according to Statista). Currently, oddsmakers that have focused on sports are shifting to cover eSports leagues and tournaments, offering free bets from top sportsbooks for those looking to test their knowledge of LoL, DOTA 2, and beyond.
But the realm of CS: GO betting looks a bit different. Shortly after Valve released launched its skins campaign, some users monetized the tradable virtual assets. While Valve has taken ample steps to reduce this underground economy, there’s also a healthy skins market that respects the terms of service of Steam and CS: GO.
Despite the negative press surrounding skins, which have no effect on gameplay and are only for aesthetics, the skins hype is here to stay. Here are three reasons why.
Customization is King
As mentioned above, skins for weapons have introduced a new element into CS: GO gameplay. Though skins are also used by FIFA and DOTA 2, skins in CS: GO add extra texture to the straightforward mission that players have. Gamers who spend hours and hours perfecting their skills naturally want some personal element reflected in the game.
For most, the only opportunity to customize the game is creating a username. Aside from some lively chats on Steam, most players are visually anonymous. However, having a weapon that’s identifiable by a weapon skin.
Additionally, players are usually looking to trade their new finds for something better. This applies to skins, too—players want to trade up for something that, even if not more useful, is rarer. And, for a game like CS: GO that’s based in the real world, unique details are everything.
They Have Value in the Game
Once again, the skins economy created by Valve was never designed to be monetized and used for gambling. In essence, the idea was to offer users something that represented them uniquely in the game. Even so, skins are still an investment—as mentioned above, they can be ‘traded up’ for another weapon.
Keep in mind that custom skins can get users banned, but trading weapons of the same grade for new skins is allowed. Valve and Steam have worked together to define what is and isn’t allowed in terms of skins trading. They’ve done so keeping in mind that the skins economy boosts player interest and personal investment in the game.
As more unique skins are released, more opportunities arise for trading.
Gaming Will Only Grow
The world of skins will continue to grow and evolve as the video gaming industry does. As mentioned above, the global worth of eSports is now over $1 billion. The budding interest in eSports will continue to bolster interest in games like CS: GO, which doubled its user figures between 2016 and 2020 (from 12 to 24 million active monthly users, according to Statista).
As the industry develops, niche interests such as skins will become fully-fledged sectors of video gaming. Though the trend started with CS: GO back in 2013, most games have now incorporated some element of skins, from Rocket League to LoL to Overwatch. In the case of LoL, skins have been around since 2009, when the game was released.