Counter-Strike: Global Offensive came out all the way back in 2012 – though it still has a large player base and its tie-ins with the Steam Community marketplace have remained active long after developer Valve’s attention mostly went elsewhere. Patch notes from Monday flagged by Vice News indicate that may have become a big problem, with the CS:GO team writing that it had disabled the ability to trade and sell in-game keys used to unlock weapons and skins due to criminals taking over their turf.
Apparently, international fraud networks – perhaps even the kind of transnational crime syndicates that might see their doors kicked down by heavily armed men – had essentially taken over the entire marketplace to the extent where the only solution was shutting it down.
“In the past, most key trades we observed were between legitimate customers,” the CS:GO team wrote in the notes. “However, worldwide fraud networks have recently shifted to using CS:GO keys to liquidate their gains. At this point, nearly all key purchases that end up being traded or sold on the marketplace are believed to be fraud-sourced. As a result, we have decided that newly purchased keys will not be tradeable or marketable.”
“Unfortunately this change will impact some legitimate users, but combating fraud is something we continue to prioritise across Steam and our products,” the notes added.
Steam scams are nothing new, as rare items on the platform’s marketplaces can often go for eyebrow-raising amounts of money. The US Federal Trade Commission has previously gone after YouTubers for scams in which they encouraged followers to gamble CS:GO skins, slapping them with thousands in fines.
Gizmodo has reached out to Valve for comment, and we’ll update this post if we hear back.
Featured image: Screenshot: Scientific Gamer