Is it Worth Opening Cases in CSGO?

Opening Cases in CSGO

Counter-Strike 2 is on the horizon, and developer Valve is letting a very small trickle of players into an ongoing beta. Active players of CSGO have the best chance at getting in, which has created an insane surge of activity across the game. With the number of concurrent CSGO players frequently topping 1.5 million, things are starting to get crazy on the game’s skin market — with players opening more than 30 million cases throughout March alone. 

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Why Are So Many People Opening Cases in CSGO?

All the case-opening craziness really does make you wonder if it could be worth opening a few cases to see what you get. Streamers and Tiktokers are opening them like mad, really helping to drive hype through the roof. On top of that, new and returning players alike are pouring in and getting hooked on CSGO while they wait for Counter-Strike 2. They’re snapping up skins for their favorite weapons, meaning prices on almost every case, skin, and sticker are surging in value on the Steam Marketplace

With all skins able to be transferred to the Counter-Strike 2 beta and, later, the full game and reports from players with beta access raving about how much better many of the skins look in the new game, the market for CSGO skins keeps getting more and more bonkers. Certain items are seeing ridiculous price movements like 200% increases over a matter of days.

What Are The Chances of Making Money with This Trend?

If you’re thinking about opening some cases to get involved in the hype, there are a number of factors to consider. First of all, it’s the least economical way to purchase skins in CSGO by far. With each case key that you need to open a case costing a flat $2.50 and cases selling for no less than $0.55, it’s already costly to open a case, especially when considering the drop rates of skins. 

Let’s use the most recently added (and also the most popular case at the time of writing) as an example. The Revolution case in CSGO is in the active drop pool, meaning CSGO players with Prime Account status can receive up to two of these as drops per week. Even with that being the case (hah, see what I did there), the Revolution cases are selling for $3.14 each at the time of writing. This means you’d need to spend $5.64 in total to buy and open a Revolution case.

The cases have several rarity tiers of items: Mil-Spec, Restricted, Classified, Covert, and Special. You have a 79.92% chance of unboxing a Mil-Spec rarity skin, and the average Mil-Spec item from the Revolution case has a value of $0.45. This means the vast majority of crate openings will cause you a massive loss of $5.19.

Opening a Restricted rarity skin from the Revolution case will see you a bit better off. The average Restricted skin from the Revolution case nets you $4.14 — a loss of $1.50 — off a 15.98% drop rate. Considering it’s a much lower chance and you’re still losing money if you land on it, it’s already showing what most opened cases are going to result in. Simply adding the two probabilities that will cause you to lose money if you open them gives you 95.9%. That means that 95.9% of the time you open a case in CSGO, you will lose money.

The odds get much lower from here, but it’s also where you start to make any kind of value gain when opening the cases. You have a 3.2% chance of landing on a Classified skin, which, in the Revolution case, will net you an average of $23.16 — a profit of $17.52. You have to keep in mind you’re landing on that just over 3% of the time, so you’ll probably have to burn through quite a few cases before you get one.

This goes even more so for the next two rarities. For the Covert skins, you have a measly 0.64% chance of landing one, and a Revolution case Covert will net you $124.81 on average, making a $119.07 value gain. Considering the odds, though, you could easily burn through 50 cases and still never see one.

Finally, everyone’s favorite thing to see drop, the Special rarity items. These include the knife skins that CSGO is infamous for, as well as now in certain cases glove skins for your characters. Almost every knife skin in the game will run you close to $100+ these days, and knife skins can range all the way up to $1.5 million for rare pattern knives from certain cases, but that’ll be another article!

If you’re excited to chase a knife, I hate to dash your hopes but the odds of unboxing a knife or other Special rarity skin are super minuscule at a 0.26% chance. This means you could be opening hundreds of cases and still never see a knife drop. I’ve seen several Tiktokers doing an ‘opening a case every day until I get a knife’ series, and most of them are already over 200 and still going. If they were opening the Revolution case, that would mean they’ve spent $1,128 and still haven’t gotten a knife. They could have directly purchased a high-end knife from a large variety off the market for that kind of money.

Even if you do land yourself a knife, the average value of those from the Revolution case is $324.88, which isn’t that high for the amount of cases you could need to open to find one. With this in mind, I’d advise you not to open cases to chase a knife. I think they’re fun to open every now and then, but you’ll almost certainly lose a fair bit of money if you’re chasing a knife.

Should You Bother Opening Cases in CSGO?

Taking into consideration all the above factors and values, you’re looking at about a 60% return on average whenever you open a Revolution case, and this is one of the highest possible outcomes for any case as can be seen here. As such, even opening one of the highest return on investment cases will still cause you to lose an average 40%, and that’s only if you’re opening a whole bunch. Opening just a handful, you’re likely to just see a bunch of Mil-spec skins and lose more like 90% of what you spent on opening the cases.

There is also the fact that case values are currently skyrocketing over the hype for Counter-Strike 2. Any case that you open also means you don’t get to see any value gains from the cases themselves. Many cases in CSGO are doubling or tripling in value at the moment, so you’d not only most likely lose money on opening it, but if you just held on to a bunch of cases and they continued to increase in value, you’d probably be closer to being able to afford a knife by selling them later rather than actually opening them.

The same goes for the CSGO skins themselves. All of their values are currently soaring across the board. If you’re looking to pick up some Classified or Covert skins for your weapons, you can find really cool ones starting at $10 on the Steam marketplace. It also means you can enjoy using them right away while the value pumps leading up to Counter-Strike 2, instead of losing money on trying to open cool skins from cases.

That covers it for determining if it’s worth it or not opening cases in CSGO. The odds are certainly not in your favor, and even the best cases with a higher return on investment will likely see you losing money. 96 times out of 100, you’re better off just buying the skins you like directly from the marketplace. It could be fun to open a case every now and then, but just keep in mind that it’ll have to be for fun and not for gain because odds are you’ll be losing money on opening that case!

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Author
Alex Berry
Alex Berry is a freelance contributor at The Escapist. His coverage ranges from funny takes on the latest games to a whole bunch of guide content. Alex is a jack of all trades when it comes to games, playing almost every new title that shows promise. From RPGs to shooters, all the way through to sports games, he plays it all, although he does have a soft spot for turn-based RPGs having started out his gaming journey with a copy of Pokémon Red on the original Game Boy. Alex has a master's degree in Business and is fascinated by online game economies, often spending a lot of time finding ways to maximize wealth in these games (but he should really be doing that in real life instead).