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Why are CS:GO Skins Priced So Differently?

Let's start by breaking down CS:GO skins - where they came from, how they're divided into categories, and the odds of obtaining them.

A serious man sits on a large weapons crate, under which reads "The Arms Deal Update: New Stock Weapons, Over 100 Unique Finishes, Weapon Case Exclusives. On the floor in front of the man are several rifles and pistols with various colored patterns on them. A picture of a key and call to action reads: Buy the esports key support competitive esports. A logo at the top of the picture reads Counter Strike Global Offensive

CS:GO Skins: A Beginner's Guide

CS:GO skins have been around since August 2013 when Valve released new content for the game called “Arms Deal." This update introduced over 100 new weapon finishes also known as “skins” into the game, organized into 10 collections which represented maps from the game such as Dust, Office and Aztec.

You can earn skins through random drops by:

  • Playing the game
  • Unbox them from weapon and promotional containers
  • Trade 10 skins from the same rarity for a random higher quality item from skins used in a trade-up
  • Trading with other players/using 3rd party websites.

There are two types of skins in the game: Collection skins which come from maps or operations and Case skins which are obtained through opening containers.

A list of CS:GO cases with box or case shaped icons. They read: Newest Cases. Prisma 2 Case, Shattered Web Case, CS20 Case, Prisma Case, Danger Zone Case, Horizon Case, Clutch Case, CS:GO Weapon Case, CS:GO Weapon Case 2, CS:GO Weapon Case 3, Chroma Case, Chroma 2 Case, Chroma 3 Case, eSports 2013 Case, eSports 2013 Winter Case, eSports 2014 Summer Case, Falchion Case, Gamma Case, Gamma 2 Case, Glove Case, Huntsman Weapon Case, Operation Bravo Case, Operation Breakout Weapon Case, Operation Hydra Case, Operation Phoenix Weapon Case, Operation Vanguard Weapon Case, Operation Wildfire Case, Revolver Case, Shadow Case, Spectrum Case, Spectrum 2 Case, and Winter Offensive Weapon Case. A second list reads: Lastest Collections. Norse Collection, Canals Collection, St. Marc Collection, Blacksite Collection, 2018 Inferno Collection, 2018 Nuke Collection, Alpha Collection, Assault Collection, Aztec Collection, Baggage Collection, Bank Collection, Cache Collection, Chop Shop Collection, Cobblestone Collection, Dust Collection, Dust 2 Collection, Gods and Monsters Collection, Inferno Collection, Italy Collection, Lake Collection, Militia Collection, Mirage Collection, Nuke Collection, Office Collection, Overpass Collection, Rising Sun Collection, Safehouse Collection, Train Collection, and Vertigo CollectionExamples of Cases and Collections

CS:GO Weapon Container Odds

The odds from CS:GO weapon containers are as follows:

  • Mil-spec (Blue) - 79,92%
  • Restricted (Purple) - 15,98%
  • Classified (Pink) - 3,2%
  • Covert (Red) - 0,64%
  • Knife/Glove - 0,26%

Items coming from containers have a 1 in 10 chance to be Stat Trak quality - these weapons track the number of kills performed by the user with the weapon and sell for more on the market. There are mechanics in the coding which help ensure every skin created in the game is unique.

CS:GO Skin Pattern IDs

This is a number between 1-1000 and gives the skin a set pattern from the image file in the game. Some skins have many patterns where almost all 1000 are unique. The Case Hardened skins pattern is taken from a large canvas and its scale and size depends on the weapon or knife.

Blue and grey design patternAbove: A case hardened skin pattern.

For example, there is a Case Hardened AK-47 that has the bluest pattern on top - this is #661 and is well known as the #1 pattern for this AK-47 Case Hardened. Only an AK-47 with this pattern ID will have a full blue top like this.

A screenshot from CS:GO. First person perspective of a player rushing through an alley, holding an AK-47 rifleA Case Hardened AK-47 skin - the coveted pattern #661

As you can see, it has taken the best possible spot of full blue from the image file and there is only a 1 in 1000 chance to get this pattern. A Stat Trak Minimal Wear version of this AK-47 recently sold for $32.000 in comparison to more average pattern Minimal Wear AK-47's in Stat Trak that sell on the market for around $200. This is an example of an average pattern which is not worth overpay (extra money).

A screenshot from the CS:GO Steam Community trading market. A 3D rendered AK-47 is displayed. At the top of the screen, it reads Counter Strike Global Offensive > StatTrak AK-47 Case Hardened Minimal Wear. Next to the rifle it reads StatTrak AK-47 Case Hardened. A small yellow CS:GO logo is displayed underneath with the text: Counter Strike Global Offensive StatTrak Classified Rifle. Exterior: Minimal Wear. This item features StatTrak Technology, which tracks certain statistics when equipped by its owner. This item tracks confirmed kills. Powerful and reliable, the AK-47 is one of the most popular assault rifles in the world. It is most deadly in short, controlled bursts of fire. It has been color case-hardened through the application of wood charcoal at high temperatures. A little color never hurt anyone. The Arms Deal Collection. A button reads Inspect in Game. Under the rifle and description it reads: The appearance of items in the individual listings may vary slightly from the one above. For example, items could have custom names, descriptions, or colors. After purchase, this item will not be tradable for one week and can immediately be re-sold on the Steam Community Market. A chart is displayed called Median Sales Prices that ranges from $100 to $500, with dates from August 16 to April 19. Prices are indicated by green spikes. Under the chart it reads Zoom graph: Week, Month, LifetimeAbove: The spikes in prices on the sales charts are from nicer patterns being sold with bluer tops or rare stickers that have been applied on the weapon.

Other skins do not have a changing pattern at all and the pattern ID will just change how scratches appear on the skin. For example, with King Snake gloves, the pattern is not changing so the ID will just change the location and formation of scratches and wear.

Two pairs of 3D rendered driving gloves side by side, each with a snake skin pattern and varied wearAbove: King Snake driving gloves. (L) Float value 0,5639342070, Pattern 29 versus (R) Float value 0,5727948546, Pattern 850

CS:GO Skin Float Value

This determines the amount of wear and tear that a skin will have and is randomly generated when a skin is unboxed. In trade-up, the average float value of the skins used will be given to the end item.

The exterior quality hierarchy is the following, from best to worst:

  • Factory New (0,00 – 0,07)

  • Minimal Wear (0,07 – 0,15)

  • Field-Tested (0,15 – 0,38)

  • Well-Worn (0,38 – 0,45)

  • Battle-Scarred (0,45 – 1,00)

Things to consider:

  • The closer it is to 0, the cleaner the skin is. The closer it is to 1, the more scratched and worn it appears.

  • A weapon's exterior quality will not degrade over time and can never be changed.

  • Different finish styles have different effects for lower weapon quality, some will get more worn and scratched where others will get darker and lighter depending on the float.

Example of scratches and wear:

Two 3D rendered rifles with brightly-colored patterns. The one on the left is bright, while the one on the left is darker and more worn. The rifles are both labeled M4A1-S Player Two, The Prisma 2 CollectionAbove: The same rifle, Factory New vs. Battle-Scarred

Collectors will pay a lot of extra for 0,00 float items as they look very clean and are extremely rare. There are also collectors of 0,99 and up float items which receive overpay for being the worst of its kind or looking nicer when darker. These are the best float value items in the game currently.

There you have it! I hope this guide helps you better understand why CS:GO skins are priced so differently. Do you have questions about CS:GO skin trading? Hit me up on Twitter or check out my Twitch channel!

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