How CSGO Skins (Actually) Saved Counter-Strike Global Offensive

Would you be willing to spend $400 on CSGO skins? More than half of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s players around the world would. In fact, what really convinced them to stay playing is the wide array of CS skins at your disposal. Find out how CSGO skins actually saved Counter-Strike in our feature below!


A New Feature | CS:GO Skins

Plenty of gamers did play Global Offensive when it came out, but its reception was generally mixed. It took a while for the game to kick off – in fact, for a year after release, GO wasn’t even the most popular version of Counter-Strike. Majority of the players either thought that the previous games were better, or that it lacked something major. That something came out a bit later on in the form of CS skins.

Global Offensive upped the ante with this release, permanently overtaking its predecessors. Suddenly, it became the most popular game on Steam that isn’t DOTA 2. Without the bustling economy brought about by CS:GO items, Counter-Strike would definitely be smaller as there would be less money coming in, no Valve-sponsored majors, and no one-million-viewer grand finals (this according to ex-pro Tomi Kovanen). Without a doubt, the addition of these CS skins has been the most important development in Counter-Strike’s history.

But Why CSGO Skins, Of All Things?

Plenty of FPS games have booster pack-like item systems and weapon customization that does not require you to pay anything just to unlock. What makes rare CSGO items so different?


One part of the explanation lies in how aesthetically pleasing these decorated guns and knives integrate with fundamental aspects of Counter-Strike, despite being purely cosmetic. Something unique to the game, for example, is how much time you consciously (or subconsciously) spend watching others play it. Once you have been slain in the unapologetic battlefield, you can spectate the rest of the round, hence ‘forced’ to look at the eye candy that is their skinned guns.


Additionally, Valve incentivized the act of watching Global Offensive majors in game or through Twitch with a linked Steam account. Spectators can win special edition CS skins called “Souvenir Skins”, which are versions of rare weapons that are considered most valuable in the game. These don’t come cheap, too – mind you.

Visual Trophies through CSGO Skins

Picking up other players’ guns is, strategically, a smart and resourceful move. Grabbing a dropped AWP relieves your team from spending resources. With the addition of CS GO skins, however, taking your opponent’s AWP or AK-47 took on a whole new meaning and gave off a different level of gratification – it became a visual trophy. A bragging right.


Spectators could see, presented in the UI, the gun owner’s name. Killing someone with their own rifle can become the ultimate insult. Valve even added a command that plays a custom “look at my fancy weapon” animation, perfect for competitive trash-talking instead of the usual cussing we normally resort to in videogames. Checking out your gun mid-match became a kind of taunt, especially if it was an opponent’s.

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