Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of the most successful FPS shooting games ever, with millions of players worldwide and a fever around its in-game items called “skins.” These purely cosmetic items have been turning the iGaming world upside down, especially due to their informal status as “digital assets.”
Are CSGO skins and NFTs the same “species”? You can read more on this here.
CSGO Skins vs. Non-Fungible Tokens
It is impossible to compare skins and NFTs without a proper description of each definition. CSGO skins are graphical overlays used on top of weapons, gloves, and other items. While these aesthetic overlays do not affect the player’s performance, they can make anyone look much cooler.
Conversely, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are a specific type of crypto asset. These blockchain-based assets allow someone to own a hash associated with a unique image, video, or any other content stored in a digital ledger.
In recent years, NFTs rapidly became a hit among fashion brands, independent artists, collectors, and other segments that crave exclusive ownership over unique items. Comparing the origins and characteristics of both assets, CSGO skins can be considered a “forerunner” of the NFT fever.
Concept and Ownership
It is not easy to explain the concept of digital ownership to someone who is not into the subject. Ultimately, CSGO skins and NFTs represent a pixeled asset that can be worth a thousand dollars or more.
While digital ownership is true in some ways, it is also not. For example, many people believe that the owner of an NFT is the only person with access to the content associated with it, but it is not necessarily true.
The owner has ownership of the original hash that identifies that token, which conveys digital ownership to that item stored in a digital ledger. Similarly, CSGO skins can be transferred, gifted, traded, or sold at the owner’s discretion, but Valve Corp. can take away an “owner’s” privilege at any time.
For example, if the game of CSGO eventually shuts down permanently, all the skins owned by people as a form of investment due to their appreciation will vanish away like a bunch of fog at the dawn of a hot summer day.
Digital ownership is indeed a revolution, but a more pragmatic view of the situation shows that this concept is still abstract.
Another essential element associated with CSGO skins and NFTs is the concept of “uniqueness.” CSGO has several items identical to each other, but finding the highest-tier items available in the game can be a time-consuming and expensive experience.
Different factors influence the value of a CSGO skin, including rarity, float, stickers, and other elements. The float is the number that defines the level of wear-and-tear on a skin, affecting the item’s appearance.
Depending on the item, a lower or higher float has an immense impact on value. Items from the StatTrak™ and Souvenir series also tend to be more valuable, but no skin is 100% unique as there will be more units with the same characteristics anywhere around the world.
In this sense, NFTs tend to be more unique, especially when it comes to art pieces and collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club. Some NFTs represent one unique piece that exists alone worldwide, with no other copies available.
Market Value and Trading
Another complex factor to differentiate CSGO skins and NFTs is the market value. These virtual assets have no central authority to regulate what their price can be, which leaves everything to the subjective market perception and supply-and-demand laws.
For example, the image associated with an NFT may not have inherited value, resulting in no use case besides a mere online display. Several projects are slowly integrating NFTs into the iGaming industry, promoting NFT-based items as valuable assets, but this effort is still in its infancy.
Conversely, CSGO skins are technically owned by Valve Corp. at the end of the day. The “owners” of these items can freely use or trade them while they can, but a simple restriction in a Steam account may leave a person isolated from the skins stored on it for an indefinite period.