A purely cosmetic set of virtual weapon accessories from video game 'Counter-Strike' sold for over $500,000

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A purely cosmetic set of virtual weapon accessories from video game 'Counter-Strike' sold for over $500,000
A purely cosmetic set of virtual items in video game "Counter-Strike" sold for $500,000.Yulii Zozulia/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images
  • The items from the "Counter-Strike" video game series recently sold for over $500,000.
  • The virtual items, a weapon skin and knife, are purely cosmetic.
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With half a million dollars, you could buy an apartment, purchase a new Tesla, or make a series of investments. Or, if you're a "Counter-Strike" enthusiast, you could use that money to buy a set of purely cosmetic, virtual items.

On April 16, a Chinese collector, whose identity is unknown, purchased a weapon skin and custom knife for for over $500,000 from Luksusbums, the cofounder of skin-trading platform SkinBid.com, per video game news site Dexterto. The deal was brokered by Danish streamer zipelCS, who said it was the "second largest trade in CS history."

zipelCS and Lukusbums did not reply to Insider's requests for comment.

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Weapon skins, which are colorful wraps that adorn guns, and custom knives do not actually impact user performance in the tactical first-person shooter. They are purely cosmetic, offering a level of customization for a user's avatar.

Valve, the developer behind "Counter-Strike," creates these items and allows players to purchase them by buying cases, which are virtual boxes or crates. The items in the cases are not known to the purchasers.

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Users can then resell these items on the game's peer-to-peer marketplace. This user-driven economy lends itself to a robust resale market with certain items accruing more value based on a number of factors like supply, pattern type, condition, and other unique characteristics.

Valve did not reply to Insider's request for comment.

The skin in question is known as a Tier 1 Case Hardened "Blue Gem"due to the fact that its pattern features the most blue available, per Dexterto. Aside from containing a rare color pattern, the skin is adorned with four Katowice 2014 Titan Holo stickers, each worth about $60,000, per Dexterto. The sticker was released during a 2014 e-sports tournament in Poland dubbed EMS One Katowice 2014, Dexterto reported.

Other Case Hardened weapon skins typically sell for a few hundred dollars, according to Dexterto.

Also included in the sale was a knife known as a Karambit Case Hardened 'Blue Gem,' which is worth $100,000, per Dexterto.

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While this is one of the biggest sales to ever occur, a player has been offered over $1 million for a knife in the past — though that deal never went through, per Dexterto.

Prices for in-game "Counter-Strike" items are experiencing a rise across the board because the next entry to the "Counter-Strike" series, which will be called "Counter-Strike 2," is set to be released this summer. Cosmetic items acquired in the current version of the game — "CS:GO," or "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" — will transfer over to this new version of the game, leading to a hot market for weapon skins and other attachments, per Dexterto.

In-game items that offer a more aesthetically distinct experience for gamers have been a key way for developers to cash in.

"Fortnite" is one of the leading titles that has capitalized on the virtual marketplace. The game's developer Epic Games had to issue a $245 million settlement last month for an allegedly coercive game design that encouraged players, including children, to make unwanted purchases.

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