The first custom skins for CS:GO came out
as part of the Arms Deal Update on the 13th of August, 2013.
There were 10 collections in total: 8 themed around maps, and 2 cases:
one being the first Weapon Case and the other being this,
the Esports 2013 case. This is different from the others at the time
since a ‘portion’ of the profits from these designs
go to the eSports community in some way. It also requires a different key to open.
The skin designs you’re seeing here are interesting for a number of reasons.
Remember, this was before the community workshop so at this stage all skin designs were done
by Valve and they had no idea at the time how the community
would react to them. There was a fascinating video released over
on GDC’s channel, it’s an hour long and has Valve discussing
the thought process that went into making these skins.
But don’t let the length put you off- it’s a fascinating and rare glimpse behind
Valve’s iron curtain and you can feel very smug watching it,
knowing already how it all turned out. They initially tried adding bits onto weapons
but decided that it confused gameplay since players couldn’t identify at first
glance which sort of weapons they were, so they chose to keep the shapes identical
and to focus on the skins themselves, which they considered was a low-work, low-risk
yet high-reward approach. You’ll notice- particularly with this collection-
that the weapon’s skins become more bright and colourful as they get rarer.
This was intentional, but not for the reason you might think.
Valve didn’t know if more colourful designs were going to become more valuable:
they saw them as riskier. They wanted most people to receive inoffensive
designs that they wouldn’t have a strong opinion
about. The colourful, riskier ones were reserved
for the lucky people who got a rare drop. At least then if they didn’t like its design,
they could instead like it for its value. And wow, did these early skins play it safe
when it comes to the designs! Most have a very simple colour palette, especially
when compared to later collections. The lowest-tiered skins in this case are a
very subtle black and grey (Or very vaguely green) pattern,
most are black and orange. Indeed, orange seems to be the popular colour
in this eSports 2013 case. In fact, it’s only when you get to the very
rare ones that Valve goes completely mad, introducing
other colours like… …red.
Actually, the Red laminate AK is interesting. There was also a black laminate version that
came out at the same time. However, Valve expected the red one to be
more risky and striking, so placed it 2 tiers above the black laminate
version to reflect this increased rarity. BUT the black skin is part of the Vertigo
skin collection and could only be dropped at the end of matches.
The red one, on the other hand, could be obtained by opening eSports cases
and since so many of these were opened (far more than Valve had anticipated),
the red one has since become more common and less valuable,
despite its higher-rated tier! And then there’s Death By Kitty,
which catches the light perfectly in this video,
making the inspection pointless. Kind of makes me want to lick it.
This was one of just 2 covert skins in the whole of CS:GO
at the time the Arms Deal Update was released, with the other being the lightning strike
AWP in the Weapon Case. There were 3 P90 skins in total at the time,
the others being the industrial grade Fallout Warning from the Nuke collection
and the Mil-spec Glacier Mesh from Vertigo.