Counter-Strike and Skins go hand in hand like Tea and Milk; it has the sureness of the inability to communicate with your teammates in solo queue. It seems like such an obvious concept - to spruce up your competitive gaming with bright textures on your weapons to contrast the drab, gritty realism CSGO has within its map pool. We like to use skins to express ourselves and show our tastes, as well as using them as a status indicator. It's a good feeling when you whip out your karambit and someone comments 'Hey, nice knife' rather than giving game relevant information that could save the round.
I digress. Knife skins, whatever your reason for liking them, are undeniably an integral part of CSGO's economy and image. Some skins go beyond the game, such as the legendary hyper beast pattern cropping up all over the place.
Hey, even I've spent my fair share of time and money doing some skin hunting. My favourite colour is yellow, and most of my skins somewhat reflect that. It's nice to organise your inventory and have it feel perfect, though as we all know, it's never quite perfect. Regardless, we all know why were' here, is it actually worth opening cases?
It depends what you're doing it for. If you're trying to actually pull a profit from these things, you're better off going to the bookies and actually gambling - you'd probably have better odds. Valve can't have people making more money than they're spending, that's a horrific business model. Sure, there will be the odd person who manages to make a massive profit and never opens another case, but compared to the people who will pour their savings into these yellow boxes definitely makes up for that.
If you're unboxing to try and get specific skins, you're probably better off buying them. It's understandable if the skin you want is worth £700 and a key is only £1.79, but the chances of actually getting the better skins is mind-blowingly low. Sure, your chances of plugging away at the cases isn't actually zero, but you might end up spending well past the initial price of the skin before getting it, without much else to show for it.
If you're unboxing for the thrill of the gamble? Then fine. You know the risks, you're presumably an adult, you do what you want with your money. It's exhilarating to put some cash on the line and sit there expectantly, waiting for a flashy weapon to scroll past, but as long as you're well aware that you'll likely be sifting through rubbish and cheap skins, then you can handle the risk appropriately.
The odds of pulling a Rare Special Item, as Valve eloquently puts it, is roughly 1 in 400. If you want to get a feel for what that feels like, grab a random number generator, put the number between 1 and 400 and keep going until you get the number 400. You'll likely be there for quite some time. And remember, this doesn't actually mean that you're guaranteed a knife after opening 400 cases, it's just an estimate and probability isn't an assured thing.
The answer isn't black and white, sadly. If you feel like you can get some enjoyment out of opening cases and you have the money to burn, then go for it. If you genuinely think this is how you get rich quick, you should probably have a look at something a bit less risky!