The platform has become a popular place for Indian gamers to buy and sell weapon skins for thousands of dollars.
Steam Marketplace has become an income hub for professional gamers, with some Counter Strike Global Offensive (CSGO) players even selling weapon skins for over $5000 (Rs. 4,00,000) a piece.
Prashant Ketaraju, a professional gamer from Mumbai, said he has been using the Steam Marketplace for over eight years. He has sold many skins in the market, valuing thousands of United States Dollar (USD).
“Steam Marketplace has become quite a hub, especially for CSGO players as you can easily trade skins. If I get a drop and the value of that drop is high, I usually sell it on the market. But if I really like the skin, I tend to keep it,” he said.
Shubham, another gamer from Delhi, has sold over 100 skins on the market, earning over $10,000 (Rs. 8,00,000). The 23-year-old said he has spent over 1,000 hours on CSGO, which has allowed him to earn all kinds of rare skins in the game, including the highly sought-after AWP Asiimov skin, which typically sells for $150 to $300 (Rs. 12,000 – Rs. 24,500) in the market.
Steam Marketplace is a player-to-player (p2p) market where gamers can trade weapon skins, character items, crates, and other gaming items. After earning the items, gamers can list them in the market, allowing other players to bid for the product.
The market was released in 2013, along with the Steam trading cards. Steam Marketplace is owned by Valve who also developed CSGO. Therefore, it is considered to be the safest place to purchase CSGO skins. The Steam Marketplace has earned huge popularity for big and small traders alike due to its hassle-free process.
Aman, another gamer from Kolkata, who has been playing CSGO for a few years, has also started to trade weapon skins in the game. “I do not have too many skins right now, but I have sold some expensive skins such as the Desert Eagle Heirloom for $ 50 (Rs. 4083),” he said.
The rise of the Steam market has coincided with the rapid growth of CSGO. From having just over half a million live active users in early 2016, the First Person Shooter (FPS) game currently has a peak of 1.3 million live active users, data from Statista showed. That means up to 1.3 million gamers are online at once during active peak hours – making it one of the most popular computer games in the world right now.
Even in India, the CSGO culture is starting to pick up pace. A 2021 research from Leetify, a dedicated CSGO analytics group, shows 1.66 percent of all CSGO players are Indians – the 17th highest in the world. Russia holds the top spot with 11.65 percent of the share.
However, despite its widespread use, the Steam market has its own downsides. Nishant Thakkar, another professional gamer, said he does not use the Steam market often, due to its high transaction fee coupled with the fact that an individual cannot cash out his or her income.
Steam charges a 15 percent transaction fee while any money earned through the Steam market cannot be withdrawn. It can only be used either to buy games or trade in the market. There are certain workaround to this barrier, such as gifting a game to a friend, but Nishant said he favours using alternatives.
“For buying and selling skins, I use Cs.DealsThere is no transaction fee and the market prices do not depend on demand, making it a more lucrative market for gamers,” he added.
Cs.deals is one of many alternatives available to Steam Marketplace. These platforms charge low transaction fees and do not have dynamic pricing. However, using these markets can be a hassle as they are not recognized by CSGO, which in turn, is owned by Steam.
Abhishek Bajaj, an E-sports athlete, said “The major problem with Steam Marketplace is the volatility of the market. Just like a traditional market, outside factors are sometimes responsible for large swings in prices which render huge losses or profits to respective people.”