'Free' 'CS:GO' Weapon Skin Websites Are The New Hotness
Following last year's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive weapon skin "gambling" controversy, there's a new batch of websites cropping up who are giving the virtual cosmetics away for "free," Kotaku's Cecilia D'Anastasio writes. While the skins can be bought and sold on the Steam Marketplace – with some of the rarer ones going for more than $1,000 – dozens of new sites are reportedly trading them in exchange for online tasks like watching ads and completing surveys. And they're making big bucks off of it. One site owner who spoke to Kotaku says his site attracts 120,000 active users a month and brings in an estimated $120,000 a month.
Previously, CS:GO gambling sites allowed people to use the game's custom weapon skins as a form of currency they could use to bet on esports matches. Two YouTubers who regularly promoted one of these third-party sites, CSGOLotto.com, allegedly failed to disclose they owned it. The controversy drew attention to the ethically and legally gray practice, and CS:GO publisher Valve sent cease and desist letters shortly after to 23 gambling sites.
While these new so-called "free" CS:GO skin sites are allegedly legal, no one knows yet how Valve feels about their existence. “We’re probably against Steam’s Terms of Service,” one site owner tells Kotaku. “But it doesn’t look like they care. We haven’t had any issues with them yet.”