How to play CSGO and make money doing it

By William Davis


May 18, 2021

Reading time: 3 min

Every big game has a diehard following. Counter-Strike is no different, and part of that is because the game has a very big trade market. 

Selling and buying weapon and gloves skins, stickers, and cases lets players have fun while getting something in return. So, how do you do it?

The history of the CSGO market

Back in the day, CSGO’s marketplace was a lot more open and unregulated than today. In 2013 and 2014, you could sell CSGO skins using case keys, the key for CSGO’s loot boxes, as a currency. This created a tremendous opportunity for players to freely trade various items and easily liquidate their inventory once they grew a large collection of items.

But in 2019, things changed. Valve removed players’ abilities to exchange newly purchased case keys, effectively ending their usefulness as a currency and driving up the price of tradable keys to untenable levels. In Valve’s own words, this was because “worldwide fraud networks…shifted to using CS:GO keys to liquidate their gains,” and “nearly all key purchases that end up being traded or sold on the marketplace are believed to be fraud-sourced.” 

Given how serious the situation was, Valve decided to crack down on key trading for everyone. While this was a major change, it didn’t hurt the CSGO skin trade too badly.

The current state of the CSGO market and how to make money on it

Currently, there are a lot of unique skin patterns that can satisfy every player’s aesthetic needs and tastes. That’s why selling skins is the main way of earning some money when playing CSGO. 

A couple years back, the video game industry was not considered to be particularly lucrative from the gamers’ perspective, but things have changed drastically. Selling your weapon and gloves skins can generate a lot of additional income. 

Though there is an ebb and flow to the market and other games have seen legitimate depressions in their markets, there’s money to be made.

The two strategies of making money in CSGO

There are two basic methods when it comes to making money off of CSGO. 

The first one is simple, but is effectively gambling with either time or money. That method is to use CSGO’s in-game item acquisition methods to build up a valuable backpack. Players can buy keys to open cases, trade up skins, or play and hope for a good drop. 

The most expensive skins are usually the rarest ones and are very difficult to acquire through casual playing. Though players can simply queue up, play normally, get a good drop and sell CSGO skins for real money, paying some cash for keys and cases is a big shortcut that saves a lot of time.

The second strategy requires some research and a bit of cash. Third-party trading sites such as Skinwallet provide reliable information on which skins are getting popular. This lets players approach the CSGO marketplace like a stock market, buying skins for a low price and hoping to sell them higher. 

This method may be time-consuming, but not as much as playing the game in the hopes of getting a rare chest. It will also save the player the frustration of having a backpack full to the top with nearly worthless Horizon cases.

Forbidden practices in CSGO

There is a darker side to all this. Some players develop a “business” strategy which consists of boosting accounts or selling accounts. Valve has made it very clear that this practice is absolutely forbidden, and can result in a permanent ban. Needless to say, this is something players should avoid getting mixed up in.

Wheeling and dealing skins is a lot safer for users. So it’s better just sell CSGO skins and don’t overcomplicate things. It’s safer, more entertaining, and extremely popular. A bit of luck here, a great deal there, and players could get the ball rolling towards something great.


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