Why invest in stocks or an ISA when you can earn a slick £750 from selling a virtual red bandana you got in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds?
You can pick one up in Steam’s Community Market, a hub for users to buy and sell in-game items like weapons for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and skins for Rust characters. Right now, 80% of its most popular items on the front page are from Battlegrounds—namely, shirts, gas masks and crates.
One of the crates people are selling on the market contains the red bandana: the PlayerUnknown’s costume set, a loot crate that some players received earlier this year when they pre-ordered the deluxe edition of the game for $40 (£30).
Back in March, the PlayerUnknown Bandana—merely a cosmetic item from that pre-order crate—was going for $20 (£15). That price spiked in July to around $230 (£171) and then, in September, $700 (£521), which didn’t deter people from buying a couple dozen of them, according to Steam Marketplace’s data. Yesterday, one sold for $1,015 (£755).
So, a well-timed £30 spent has earned some players hundreds more months later; however, it’s most easily spent on other Steam items. Unlike saving our old Beanie Babies, holding onto digital skins in games is becoming an easy and fast way to make bank—but if a black market or gambling economy emerges, like it did for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Battlegrounds might regret its push for paid cosmetics.