People have been joking for a while about the exorbitant nature of weapon skins for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. They can range in the tens of thousands when the market feels like it.
But what's more disturbing is when those skins start appearing in real-life — and products get bumped up by an exorbitant amount as as result.
The skin in question is Fade, a blended transition from an indigo and a deep purple to a sunset red and yellow. It looks rather nice on some weapons; if they're the right kind, they can go for quite a whack on the market.
But it's an old skin, having been released a couple of years ago. So automatically that means it's nowhere near the most popular or best looking on the market. This Kill Confirmed USP skin looks outstanding and will set you back over $480 right now if you want to buy it outright. A Factory New model of a Dragon Lore AWP is going for US$1430. This AK can be picked up at a bargain for *cough* US$550.
Not much at all. What is nice about the whole system, as an aside, is the way designers and artists can have their works appreciated and valued in this fashion. So in that sense it's nice to see companies like Steelseries take those designs and reskin their peripherals to suit.
A word of warning though: if you do take them up on their offer, you'll be hit with a premium. And in the case of the latest SteelSeries Rival mouse, that premium amounts to an extra $40.
$40 on its own isn't much. But when the outstanding, perfectly serviceable, non-skinned version of the mouse only costs $79 it's quite a jump. If Ruslan Kogan's outfit doesn't offend you greatly, he'll sell you a Rival for $69.
But the fancy Rival 300 Fade is going for a minimum of $119. MWAVE's listing notes the original price is around $129, although some retailers might go well beyond that. AusPCMarket in Auburn, NSW, for instance, are charging a whopping $141.90 for the Fnatic-branded version of the Rival, which is almost $30 more than what other stores are asking.
Given that everything you'd care about is unchanged — the Rival 300 FADE has the same sensor as the original Rival, uses the same software, weighs the same and has the same physical specifications — hiking the price by 50% is bit of a bother.
The price of mice has crept up slowly over the years but when we're at the stage where one costs you the same as a competitively priced mechanical keyboard, surely eyebrows have to be raised. For the cost of a Rival 300 Fade, you could get a 120GB SSD with room to spare. Pay a little bit more and you can get a 256GB SSD. A decent pair of headphones can be found for less than the 300 Fade. The ASUS Xnoar and Creative Audigy sound cards can be picked up for less too.
So word to the wise: not all that is new and shiny is worth your money. And while it's nice that some of your favourite CS:GO skins will appear in real-life, just remember your hand's going to be covering up that skin most of the time. And it won't look quite as good when it's been battered and worn down by dead skin and your sweaty gaming hand.
Save your money, and buy the original.
Note: Due to the fluid nature of the digital marketplace, the values of the weapon skins could have changed markedly by the time you read this. Just keep that in mind.