Remember waiting in line at the arcade to play the skinny little twerp dominating everyone at Mortal Kombat or Marvel Vs. Capcom? There were tourneys for those games back in the day. If you won, you got bragging rights and maybe some game swag if you came out on top. Some are still around like at Galloping Ghost in Brookfield, Illinois.
In the past 10 years, the rise in digital distribution for games has exploded. Nowadays kids and adults of all ages are getting their tournament on in the comfort of their own home. These games also have their own little e-economy which the game developers get a cut, and a cut of the money also goes to the prize purse at the Electronic Sport tournaments (Usually the purse is 250k for the championships). A great way for a casual fan to play and fund their gaming universe.
For this post I will focus on one gaming community that has been around since 1999. One that is a huge success is the Counter-Strike Universe, and part of their success for being around this long is the multiple versions of the game that have been out (Global Offensive is the current one), and the way they introduced ‘cases’ a few years ago (remember these are just digital. You can’t touch them and at the moment there are 12+ cases). It’s basically gambling. These case’s are like beanie babies. (There’s over 500+ different skins!) You ‘need’ them because inside is a gun skin for your AK-47, M4A4, or if you are really really lucky you will get a knife. The cases once introduced to the market, can range from $15 to $25 a piece the first few days, then can be under fifty cents a case in a few months time.
You can also get these cases, and sometimes guns dropped to you after you finish a CS:GO match. You still need to open these cases once you buy or acquire them. A key is $2.50, but if you buy these from Steam’s market, you may be able to buy in bulk and get them a little cheaper. Now when you have the type of case you want and key, you can open it. You may get a gun skin that is worth $400 (The wear quality, and if its Stat Trak or not will drive the price up) on the market or even more off the market through a PayPal transaction depending on how rare it is. Unfortunately, like the rest of the case openers out there you will most likely get a skin worth 15 cents.
Any money you get for selling your skin on the market becomes part of your Steam wallet balance. You can’t with-draw that money to your real bank account. Most people just trade their skins with other people to get what rare skins that are out there. They can also use their trade up contract, and take a chance to get a better skin, by selecting ten of their own skins. By the way Counter-Strike Global Offensive is like Call of Duty, but you can die very easily (usually one bullet can do it) , so players usually take it at a slower pace, and use a lot more team play/communication than the run and gun Call of Duty players. Please visit the link to see what it’s all about. The game play can be very intense as one team may need to rescue hostages or defuse a bomb! http://counterstrike.wikia.com/wiki/Counter-Strike:_Global_Offensive
There is so much money dumped into this market for Counter-Strike Global Offensive it’s crazy! Valve, the makers of CS get a cut and the tournaments they host. To read more about it please go to this link as I could go on and on about just the gun skins, cases, keys, and how addicting they can be. http://counterstrike.wikia.com/wiki/Skins
Going back to the eSports, there are a handful of leagues out there hosting tourneys, but one of the major ones is ESL http://www.eslgaming.com/ Their last tourney for CS:GO was back in March in Katowice, Poland. Over the 3-4 days of competition with the teams from all over the world, they had gamers watching the tournament on Twitch and were averaging 500,000+ streamers at any given time. The final two teams had 800,000 to a Million streamers watching. By the way, gamers do bet on these games by using their own valuable skins through 3rd party sites. That is a whole another article in its self. I just briefly touched on the CS:GO universe. There are other games out there that have tourneys like StarCraft II, Halo, and Dota 2. I don’t see this slowing down at all.
To keep this post short, I am going to post a few videos that give you the feel and atmosphere of CS:GO. First two are some highlights from the ESL CS:GO tourney in Katowice Poland. The last video is one of thousands of CS:GO case unboxings that streamers post of them trying to get a rare knife or gun skin. Most of the time its a disappointment, but it’s very entertaining when its not your own money. This guy is opening the new Chroma 2 case that just came out. The first day it came out the case was around $30 a case, and now it’s around $3.00.
Watch the video from beginning to end, and you will see how crazy addicting it can be. I have been very conservative in my case openings as I hate to see my real money become virtual money or worth pennies after an opening. I don’t recommend dumping a lot of money into this as the odds are against you. Do it for fun like a buying a scratch off from the gas station once in a while. Post your comments below if you have any questions, or want to see more on eSports or CS:GO. This is basically a very brief intro to it all.