Valve Made $1 Billion From CS Cases Last Year, Data Claims

counter strike cases

There’s a meta market wrapped up in the Counter-Strike ecosystem that’s worth billions of dollars – and it’s entirely virtual. It’s the CS skins market, and it sees tens of thousands of dollars change hands every day, with players buying, selling, trading, and unlocking weapon skins, cosmetics, and ‘cases’. It was recently claimed in a data-driven report that in 2023 alone, the skins market (led by ‘case openings’) made Valve – Counter-Strike’s developer – almost $1 billion.

It’s effectively money for nothing. Valve sells keys to open these cases and players pick up virtual goodies to equip, hold, upgrade, or sell forward. Historically, the skins market has been the home of some dramatically valuable transactions, with one-of-a-kind weapon skins selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That’s a Lot of Cases claimed that more than 400 million cases were unboxed in 2023, with CS players spending a whopping $980 million on case keys. That’s a staggering sum and is indicative of the leading power of Counter-Strike, which after more than ten years on the market remains one of the world’s most popular and wildly lucrative games.

The report divulged more information, such as a claim that case prices have increased by 178% through 2023.

In 2023, the Dreams and Nightmares case sat at the top of the table, earning Valve a whopping $126.3 million alone. In the granular breakdown, it was shown that the release of Counter-Strike 2 in September caused a massive boom in case openings.

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  1. I think this is unintentionally slightly misleading. This is $1 billion in just *case opening* earnings. Valve also makes 15% on every item traded on their marketplace. The people who find cases and the people who open cases are generally not the same people, so most cases are transacted at least once.

    To understand the value of cases you would have to add all the marketplace fees for cases + case keys to the value stated in the above article. Granted, compared to case openings that’s not much. Maybe $100k/yr or so per case/capsule on the exchange. I don’t have the numbers in front of me but I suspect it’s an additional $10-20 million/yr.

    And, to be clear, this is nowhere near what Valve makes on CS:GO broadly speaking. Between Operations, stickers, and the rest of the CS:GO marketplace, Valve is absolutely printing money. It would be cool to see the estimated total value in purchases from all sources, not just opening cases.

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