On June of 2018, Valve disabled all OPSkins bots. As a result, fans estimate (H/T Dot Esports) about $2M of CS:GO skins were lost and Valve’s relationship with online skin resellers became rocky as its games have had increased focus within the esports. Since then, Valve has doubled down on integrity when it comes to dealing with skin resellers.
¿Why Valve took that decision?
2018, a period that can be remembered for the constant back-and-forth between Valve and digital item marketplace OPSkins; a site that was used to buy skins at a lower price, however, it offered skin trading among players as part of its services.
OPSkins was founded in 2015 as a marketplace service for many digital items, including several Valve titles, the most popular being Counter Strike: Global Offensive. As one of the more popular skin trading sites, OPSkins blasted Valve for its new policy. Unlike other skin sites, however, OPSkins took advantage of the system developed a workaround to this restriction, called “ExpressTrade”. Thats is why!
Valve’s relationship with online skin resellers and trading services (particularly gambling services) was a complicated one, as part of Valve’s business model for its games often includes digital item unlocking and trading through Valve’s Steam gaming platform. Reselling and gambling became par for the course as users found ways to work around the system to do so.
With several instances of match-fixing and scams coming from these services, Valve had to double down on enforcing measures to ensure integrity for players was preserved, due to pressure by gamers and regulators to prevent any further scams to its customers. March 2018 saw the first step towards pushing back on gambling through a “seven-day trade cooldown” on digital items, preventing them from being traded back and forth rapidly between automated accounts operated by automatized bots.
Things continued to escalate, as other skin-related services were also piggybacking off of OPSkins’ ExpressTrade to operate, leading Valve to issue a public cease-and-desist to OPSkins, alleging that other skin-related services were piggybacking off of OPSkins’ ExpressTrade to operate, meaning Valve found the potential for every service to flaunt the trade cooldown.
Valve was then lenient enough to send OPSkins the time and date that it would shut down bots operated by OPSkins, which the service shared with its users and urged them to withdraw any skins on the marketplace. Nowadays, OPSkins is effectively cut off from operating on Valve’s platform, a major loss for any digital item-related service. Fans, too, had complaints, as despite Valve’s warnings, many had continued to process transactions through the site; many were cut off in the middle of the transaction. One thread on Reddit documented a total of nearly $2 million in value from skins held by the locked bots, including several skins worth over $500 each.
Many newer players may not know of it, but the older skin loving players may have fond memories of the service, as the way to purchase skins has been streamlined and secured ever since then