In an event that future historians will point to as evidence of our hubris and decadence, a spendthrift player has splashed a six-figure sum on a single AK-47 skin in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Spotted by Dexerto (opens in new tab), a CS:GO player over on the Chinese version of Buff—a marketplace for players to trade digital doodads like skins and stickers—spent ¥1,095,000 (that’s Chinese yuan) on a “factory new” Wild Lotus skin bedecked in four rare stickers. That’s about $160,000/£131,500.
4x Reason Holo Wild Lotus just sold on buff for 150’000€ 😳 pic.twitter.com/qv5qKvoRjvMarch 13, 2023
The Wild Lotus skin is rare—there are fewer than 3000 in existence—and the fact that it was “factory new” made it even rarer. CS:GO skins don’t wear through use (thankfully), but they do have a chance of dropping in a state ranging anywhere from “Battle-scarred” to, well, “Factory new”. While other Wild Lotus skins sell for closer to $10,000 (opens in new tab) (reasonable), the pristine state of this one made it particularly rare and, therefore, particularly attractive.
Besides, despite the rarity of the skin itself, it’s actually the stickers that were the most valuable part. The skin’s four Reason Holo stickers from the 2014 Katowice CS:GO Major tournament were each worth about $40,000. Not to dazzle you with my maths skills, but that means the four stickers alone were worth around $160,000.
Dewy-eyed naif that I am, I was a little taken aback by the notion of some kind of videogames Marie Antoinette spending sports car cash on a completely immaterial weapon skin, but all this is actually par for the course for the CS:GO community.
While this trade is an outlier (Dexerto notes it’s probably in the top 10 most expensive skins), players drop thousands of dollars on weapon skins all the time. Heck, you can go spend over $400,000 on one (opens in new tab) right now if you like. Plenty of rare skin collectors will tell you, with a barely noticeable roll of their eyes, that $160,000 is an entirely reasonable estimate (opens in new tab) for this skin in the context of the current CS:GO marketplace.
After all, as one such collector said on Twitter (opens in new tab), where else are they gonna spend it? “The people who buy this already have 10 [Mercedes-AMGs] my guy”. Someone, I beg you, go fetch the factory new guillotine.