Nick J. March 25, 2020
Valve's traditionally hands-off approach to its games means that it can be really hard for fans to get their hands on good merchandise, especially for Valve's sometimes underappreciated first-person shooter, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. If you live in China, though, you're in luck.
CSGO's Chinese publisher Perfect World has nailed the game's aesthetic with their merchandise. There is a little overlap between the Valve-outsourced store available elsewhere and Perfect World's cohesive style in China. CSGO's merch options outside of China pale in comparison to what players have available inside the country.
Perfect World outdoes Valve in CSGO merch and stores
Taking a quick look at the CSGO store available in the west, it's clear that Valve's selection is lacking when compared to its Chinese counterparts. The problem lies in the fact that Valve doesn't actually make or order any of its merchandise itself. Much like the skins in its cases and stickers in its capsules, Valve relies on the community to create CSGO's merchandise.
That doesn't seem to be the case in China. Perfect World has assembled some of the best Counter-Strike merchandise we've ever seen.
North America's CSGO store hadn't seen some of its merch restocked for months, let alone anything new until Half-Life: Alyx came along and forced the store's recent facelift. While those in the Americas eyed the long sold out CSGO patches and stickers, Chinese fans were busy ordering a 20th Anniversary shirt that combines a muted color with the next evolution of the game's infamous Hyperbeast.
It's an impressive piece of work.
The game has become recently become more popular with its Chinese audience. Perfect World's 20th anniversary celebration piece isn't where China's exclusive gear ends, either.
While the rest of the world did get a CSGO hoodie, for some reason the Perfect World Counter-Strike windbreaker just looks cooler. Emblazoned with the Inferno logo and the coveted Global Elite insignia, we can't imagine ever being cold in this thing. That cup on the left shoulder is actually the logo from the CSGO Asia Championship near the end of 2019. That's a commemorative purchase that we can get behind.
Perfect World is even selling Counter-Strike umbrellas, and they're Crimson Web umbrellas to boot.
Once you get over the fact that you're excited about a Crimson Web umbrella, it really falls into place. Take it in. Relish in the fact that those of us outside of China will likely never get to see one for real. It checks all the boxes: stylish, functional, a little out there but no too gaudy.
No one would bat an eye if you took this umbrella out for a rainy day spin, and that's the attraction. The only people that will stop and say, "Hey, is that a Crimson Web Umbrella?" are fellow CSGO fans. Nobody else will be any the wiser.
Finally, chief amongst Perfect World's Counter-Strike offerings was this "Road to Global" pin set that reminds us of the five-year anniversary coins available almost three and a half years ago to the other regions. While we're sure that China will get a chance to get their own five-year coins on September 15, 2022, but right now they'll have to make do with this pin set.
From Silver I to Global Elite, everyone starts somewhere. The pin set commemorates Counter-Strike's lowest and highest ranks in beautiful, glossy detail. Perfect World's other screenshots show off the pin's size and placement in a variety of situations.
While China's Counter-Strike store may not have the range of its counterparts in other regions, its items show a fervor for Valve's first-person shooter unlike anything seen anywhere else.
As for us, we're just going to be waiting for those CSGO patches to come back in stock. It's only been, what, three years now?