With the release of CS2 now behind us, it is clear that some people were let down by the lack of content included with the launch of the new game. While the player base peaked in May with a record 1.1 million average players, even now, with the release of CS2, we are still seeing a slight decline in the average player base, with only 969k average players over the last 30 days. Whether this is directly because people losing interest and hype in CS2 or because many schools are now back in session is unclear, but the trend is clear.
Smaller Playbase = Less Demand
In an economics class, one of the first concepts you are taught is the notion of Supply vs. Demand. Demand for products increases when there is either a smaller supply or more consumers want to purchase a product. While the player base of Counter-Strike was growing, we witnessed market-wide increases in the prices of items. However, now that the player base is stagnant and slightly shrinking, many items lose momentum and drop significantly in price.
Counter-Strike Item Prices
Looking at EsportFire's 300 Index, which tracks the price of 300 of CS's most popular items, it is clear that the prices align with the player base graph. As you can see on the right of the graph, the second CS2 release, we saw a dramatic drop in the price of many items. However, there has been a bit of recovery since the CS2 release flash crash.
The price of cases has remained stagnant for the past few months. However, when it comes to Cases released from 2020-2023, we are seeing a slight breakout in price. This could partially be because players from regions where you must use an X-ray scanner to open cases (to avoid loot box laws) can no longer receive cases as your weekly drops. This has a slight decrease in the overall supply of these actively dropped cases, which means that the price is reacting accordingly.
In my opinion, if the player base holds steady and people enjoy CS2 over the coming months, prices of older items will probably continue their historic increase in value. However, if the game truly does begin to show a significant decline in average players, we could see a similar drop in prices as we witnessed in 2018 when everyone took a break from CS:GO to play PUBG when that overtook Counter-Strike as the most popular Steam game for a while.
Posted on in Skins & Economy