Valorant just experienced its first tournament match-up between two professional teams. The Twitch Rivals Valorant finals between Team Myth (TSM) and Team Brax (T1) showed what a real match would look like between two top tier organizations. While the match was exciting, there is still an element Valorant lacks, and that is betting and the skins market.
Betting is a huge part of the pro CS scene. Whether you know it or not, there is a long history of gambling weapon skins, knives and stickers. From gambling sites to trade-ups, the weapon skins of CS are one of its most popular features, with some skins and knives holding a value of over $1000.
Valorant, on the other hand, does not have the same skin system. It borrows the store layout from Fornite and Riot’s flagship game, League of Legends. The skin store has a rotating stockpile of different weapon skins along with skin sets, like the Prime Set which gives players five skins for 7100 Valorant points, which is about $75. But these skins, unlike their CS counterparts, are not tradeable.
Trades Aren’t Viable in Valorant, For Now
Almost all skins in Counter-Strike are tradeable, but these aren’t bought in stores. Weapons are found in cases that players have to open with keys bought in game, or on the Steam Market. The random drops that players will get from cases create different values for each weapon. Even if there was a market feature for Valorant, it wouldn’t work. With the static, fixed price of skins in Valorant, there could be no real market that responds to supply and demand.
Even Dota 2 has a skin market where players can buy different pieces of sets for their Hero. League of Legends, on the other hand, has a static constant store with all of the skins, besides legacy skins, available to buy. But this system works out for them, considering Riot made 1.5 Billion in revenue in 2019. Moving into Valorant, it is anyone’s guess if this system can hold up.
The CSGO skin market is such a well-known entity by all players of the game and fans of the pro circuit. If Riot is hoping to poach some viewers or players for their game and esports down the line, it is going to need something similar to draw in the majority of players for long-term consistent viewership.