What Happens When You Discover a Random Loot Drop Is Actually Worth $1,000


Between work, everyday life, and raising a 7-month-old kid, Luke Johnson only gets two nights a week to play games. Even still, he’s put more than 120 hours into PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), 2017’s Battle Royale-inspired phenomenon that’s shown little sign of slowing down. Johnson’s PUBG session last Saturday was an otherwise ordinary affair. While waiting for a friend to finish a match, he spent a few in-game points to buy a loot crate. Quickly, though, his eyes widened; this was one of the new, rare “Desperado” crates, added to the game earlier this month.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/ev57v4/what-happens-when-you-discover-a-random-loot-drop-is-actually-worth-dollar1000


There’s something tragically comic about turning your extremely volatile PUBG cosmetic into cryptocurrency. All the sci-fi novels of the past were wrong because they all underestimated just how stupid the future was going to be. Now if you’ll pardon me, I have a cereal box to rub against my videogame.


I accidentally redeemed my bulletcash or whatever the fuck PUBG’s currency is called for one of the Invitational competition crates, not realizing they required a $5 “key” to “unlock”. I let that crate rot in my inventory for months, until December when I decided I’d just buy the stupid key and open the damn thing. I got a black skirt, a purple “rare” item. I only wear clothing that makes my character harder to see, so showing a bunch of leg wasn’t what I was looking for and just wrote it off. I ended up looking up the value of the skirt and it sold for fucking $400. I sold the skirt for $380 in Steam money, and went nuts during the winter sale. #skirtmoney


i have a team fortress 2 hat from preordering a sam and max game that was briefly the most valuable item in the marketplace but i didn’t think to sell it until way after it was worth anything

i also had to stop wearing it in game because everybody was aaaaabsolutely insufferable in voicechat trying to get it off me


Late capitalism strikes again!


Oh my god, I think I might have that hat?


I’d flip it immediately. I’d rather a bunch of new games for the next few years.


So an ENTIRE thing that totally frames this whole thing differently:
KEYS that OPENED those crates, that you can buy for $2.50 USD from steam, were selling for roughly $10 dollars on the marketplace for the exact same length of time that those desperado crate items held such high value. The reason for this is that items from opened crates are only immediately sell-able if the key has been sitting in an inventory for at least a week, which is the same length of time it takes for the key itself to become an item you can sell.

So people who had keys sitting around from Gamescom could sell those for sooo much, and people who opened items of any rarity with those keys could sell them with the price-setting power that kind of exclusivity brings, besides the rarity of Desperado crates themselves, given it was the first week they were available.

That’s why the price dropped, most people who’d obtained one of these items in this way couldn’t flip it until then.

So now we’re on week three of Desperado/Biker crates. The Desperado crates have fallen in value consistently with each successive week, previously selling for as much as eight dollars is now closer to a dollar-fifty.

Anyway, my point isn’t that the steam marketplace is in any way predictable, it’s just that it’s really interesting how these prices are determined by a mix of systemic and human factors. The prices were wild when the desire for that new hotness coincided with legitimate scarcity.

I like reading these human-interest stories. They really highlight WP’s interest in understanding games and games culture through a humanistic lens.