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The CS: GO April Fools prank that cost players nearly R800 000

CSGO prank.jpg

Always take everything you see on the 1st of April with a large helping of salt. Although most pranks are harmless and often funny little distractions even if you do get fooled, there are some that could be downright devastating. A YouTuber who focuses on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) weapon skins, McSkillet, created an April Fools video which resulted in his viewers purchasing extra weapon skins totaling an estimated $53,531.48 (R797,637.79).

(Please note that the Dollar to Rand conversions in this article are converted using the current exchange rate and could change on a day-to-day basis.)

The prank’s impact

For those unfamiliar with CS: GO weapon skins (cosmetic only), they can sell for a large amount of money, upward of R10,000 if the skin is rare enough. You can obtain skins from playing the game and hoping for a drop, or open weapon cases with keys (which sell for around R35-45). Further, CS: GO has a “Trade Up Contract” system, in which players can exchange 10 items of identical quality, to receive a single item of a quality one higher, from a collection of one of the items they provided.

MrSkillet, who has 443,000 YouTube subscribers and 55,000 Twitter followers, created an April Fools prank video that said if you trade ten Covert skins (red) you can get a random knife in a new Trade Up Contract update. It was a deal almost too good to be true, as Knife Skins in CS: GO sell for between R2,000 and R10,000. Further, MrSkillet noted in his prank that the specific knife skin he “received” sells for over $2,000 (R29,805.80) on a third-party trading website.

The prank caused some of his viewers to instantly go to the Steam Marketplace and start buying up all the Covert skins, which drastically increased the price of weapon skins such as the AUG | Chameleon. You can still see the impact of the prank on the weapon skin’s market price four days later from the screenshot below which I took today at 10:00am.

market scn.jpg

The image above shows the impact on 1 April 2016, where a ton of AUG | Chameleon skins where sold for more than double the market price. The weapon skins normally sold for around R35-38; yet five days later they are still selling for around R55.

It might not seem like too big of an impact if you just look at one of the Covert weapon skins. However, Reddit user theesado created a post and compiled all the data into a spreadsheet, showing how people spent an estimated $53,531.48 (R797,637.79) extra in the first 24 hours. Further, Valve takes a 15% cut of every market transaction, so in the first 24 hours, Valve made a profit of $8,029.72 (R119,666.11).

At the end of the video, MrSkillet did announce it was an April Fools prank. However, a lot of people evidently still fell for it; judging by  the market impact the prank had.

The video prank was well done prank to say the least, as MrSkillet even created an CS: GO "update page", a fake Trade Up Contract and added a piece where it looks like he actually got the knife skin, which left some CS: GO players very unhappy. 

The community and MrSkillet’s responses

Across multiple forums, for example this Reddit thread and a Steam Community post, the response to MrSkillet’s April Fools prank has been mixed. Some players find it extremely funny that someone would fall for it, calling those “victims” idiots and sometimes much worse. Others point out that if something like this had to happen in the CS: GO market, purchasing a bunch of skins would be a smart financial move.

MrSkillet uploaded the video and apparently went to bed. When he awoke, he saw the reaction and impact of his video, responding with: “Woke up and apparently new video is causing havoc lol” - Source

One heated thread on the Steam Community forums created by __6kaori9__ reads:

“I know you may call me a prick for writing this out but to be honest after seeing what has happened, I think you would think otherwise.

Just recently, McSkillet posted video of him trading up red skins to get a knife in this case he ‘got’ a karambit sapphire. Well clearly this is not true and is just a whole scam but he even custom made his own page for CSGO showing a fake update news of being able to trade up red skins to knife. Well for those who didn’t know, if Valve was so dumb to do this that means they are just gonna ditch CSGO and move on to another game. This is a clear case of McSkillet using his Youtuber status to trick people into buying red skins and making the prices increase in the steam market. I mean just look at the market and search AUG chameleon and look at the price history this is horse #%$#.

I hope that the steam community will realize this soon and that is why I’m typing this out to make sure no 1 gets tricked by McSkillet and his horse #%$#.” - Source

To be fair, people should probably have watched the video till the end before purchasing weapon skins worth thousands, especially on the 1st of April. Even so, a prank that can actually cost people a lot of money should isn't really  funny, especially if you are one of those who got fooled by the prank. All the affected skins are still selling for above normal market price, as those who got fooled are trying to sell the skins without losing too much money in the process. At the time of writing, it is unclear if Valve might help out some players via the Steam Refund policy.

What do you think about the April Fools prank and the effect on the CS: GO market? Have you ever fallen for an April Fools gaming-related prank? Let us know in the comment section below.  

Sources: YouTube, Steam Community, Reddit, MrSkillet Twitter

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