CS2 skins explained

Here's what you need to know about Counter Strike 2 skins, including the state of the market, how Source 2 has changed skins, and more

How do CS2 skins work? CS2 skins alter the appearance of weapons, gloves, and knives, giving players the chance to show off their library of digital assets. Returning Counter-Strike players were worried that their CSGO skins weren’t going to transfer over to CS2, but Valve quelled any fears when it officially announced the game in March 2023.

Owning Counter-Strike 2 skins isn’t just about making a fashion statement. It’s about putting your mark on your implements of death. It’s about showing off your expertise, and, occasionally, selling on for a decent profit – maybe just wait for the skin prices to calm down a little before you decide on investing too much. Now that the Counter-Strike 2 release date is finally here, this is everything you need to know about CS2 skins before you jump in.

Counter-Strike 2 skins: an assault rifle spraypainted orange and blue.

Will CSGO skins transfer to Counter-Strike 2?

Thankfully, CSGO skins transfer over to Counter-Strike 2. Because CS2 utilizes the Source 2 engine, your skins also look much nicer in the newer game. 

As soon as you boot up CS2 for the first time, you should find your inventory stocked with your skins from CSGO.

Why do some of my skins look different in Counter-Strike 2?

Certain weapon skins have some minor differences compared to the way they look in CSGO. This might come in the form of scratches or wear where there otherwise was none. Valve hasn’t responded to any complaints about this, but they have been fixing weapon skins in updates.

Here’s a list of some of the skins that have problems in CS2:

  • Mecha Industries (M4A1-S, Deagle, FAMAS) – Certain variations now look metallic rather than plastic, the white effect isn’t as pronounced.
  • Printstream (M4A1-S, Deagle, USP-S) –  This skin used to have a pearlescent effect in CSGO, but this has been severely toned down in CS2.

Can I get CS2 skins for free?

The fastest way to acquire CS2 skins is to pay for them on the community market, however, you can claim some for free in-game using the weekly care package system. Once you earn enough experience points, the new weekly care package system allows you to pick up to two rewards. You have four options that should include weapon skins, cases, and sprays. These are weekly rewards, so you need to wait seven days before you get the chance to claim any more skins.

Why have some CSGO skins shot up in price?

The CSGO skin market has been booming since CS2 was announced back in March, prompting skin traders to hoard as many rare weapon and knife skins as possible. In addition to this, the Source 2 engine has received a huge lighting upgrade, making certain skins like the Fade effect stand out considerably more than before.

As a result of these changes, knives that were readily available on the market have shot up in price by two, sometimes three times their original value since March. There are variations of the Butterfly Knife and M9 Bayonet, two of the best knives in the game, that have disappeared from the market due to scarcity. It’s unclear whether the skins bubble is likely to burst with the launch of CS2, dropping prices back down to what they were, or potentially grow even larger as more new players get into the game.

Are there any new CS2 skins?

As of November 16, Valve has not released a new crate containing CS2 weapon skins. The workshop tools released for CS2 have revealed new textures and effects that weren’t available in CSGO such as mirror and glass properties.

Now you know that your skins will all transfer over to Counter-Strike 2, and look a lot shiner, it’s time to get your head down and start grinding out some matches. We have a list of all Counter-Strike 2 maps here, as well as how to use the CS2 smokes and CS2 binds. Finally, if you’re looking for other free PC games, check out that list, it’s good. Promise.