Valve Bans Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Container Key Trading Over Money Laundering Concerns

Valve Bans Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Container Key Trading Over Money Laundering Concerns
Credit: TDM_Heyzeus via YouTube

On the 28th of October, Valve, developer of Counter-Strike Global Offensive, issued a statement saying that the keys purchased in-game can no longer the purchasing account. As a result, the keys will no longer be tradeable or be able to be sold on the marketplace.

‘In the past, keys were traded between legitimate players. Nowadays, fraud networks have shifted to using keys to liquidate their gains,’ the developer added.

The problem is believed to be so big that Valve thinks that almost 90% of the purchases that end up being traded or sold are believed to be from fraud sources.

For the majority of users who buy keys and use them to open the containers, nothing will change, but for those who are using the keys to legitimize their illegal assets, another window has been closed. As with most decisions regarding restrictions in the market place, this one has had a considerable effect on the current market economy, which is built around the sale of in-game items. An increase of around 30-40% for existing keys has appeared overnight after the decision since the existing keys are not going to be withdrawn from the market.

The keys have been acting as an unofficial currency in the Counter-Strike economy for quite some time; preventing the ability to sell them is going to have some consequences for the future of the market place.

It is not the first time that Counter-Strike’s reward system was used in abusive ways. In 2016, two YouTubers came to the attention of the media after promoting a skin lottery website that they owned and rigged results. Valve issued cease and desist orders to multiple sites that operated in the same business, but it was not enough, and the Washington State Gambling Commission got involved.

In the past few months, more countries have been cracking on the gambling economy of some games, Counter-Strike included. As a result, additional disclosures were required by the developers of games where loot box mechanics existed. For example, in response to recent regulation in France, Valve introduced an ‘X-ray scanner’ in Counter-Strike, which allows users to see the content of the containers before they are unlocked.

The Counter-Strike community believes that another game developed by Valve, Team Fortress 2, will follow the same path and regulations soon enough.

Valve is not the only company affected by the regulations. More companies will have to follow suit if they want to keep selling their games and assets in most countries in Europe after recent EU regulation.