What Are CS:GO Trade Up Contracts and How Do They Work?


Counter Strike: Global Offensive is a highly decorated multiplayer shooting game launched in 2012 by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment. An in-game feature of CS:GO involves weapon skins that are awarded to players via weekly ‘drops’. However, it is not the only available way to hunt for the weapon skins of your dream. CS:GO includes a Trade Up Contract, which is basically an interchangeable arms deal that can be used by the players to expand their skin collection. The Trade Up Contract is explained in this article in detail.

A Brief Introduction to Weapon Skins

Weapon skins are the different outwardly features and textures of weapons used in CS:GO. Although they don’t possess any gameplay function, they are eligible for trading. Weapon skins are mostly acquired from ‘drops’ when a player gains 5000XP to level up his rank. This feature can be accessed only once a week. The active skin collections in CS:GO include:

  • The 2018 Nuke Collection
  • The 2018 Inferno Collection
  • The Dust 2 Collection
  • The Train Collection
  • The Lake Collection
  • The Safehouse Collection
  • The Bank Collection
  • The Italy Collection

What Is a Trade Up Contract?

Trade Up Contract, previously known as Arms Deal Contract, is a default contract that lets a player trade 10 weapon skins of identical quality, with a weapon skin that is one tier higher than the ones used for trading. Although volatile, Trade Up Contracts in CSGO can turn out to be potentially valuable for players trying to upgrade their collection of weapon skins.

The procedure is not cumbersome at all. Basically, a player will open the contract to select 10 available weapons skins followed by a confirmation page that contains the player’s name, rank, a form number, and the skins listed for trade. The ‘Submit Contract’ option is the final confirmation from the player’s side before the trade is conducted.

Who Are Eligible for Trade Up Contracts?

Although trade-ups are not restricted to prime accounts, Valve has removed the weapon skin ‘drop’ feature for the free accounts. This forces the non-prime players to rely only on the Steam marketplace to buy skins before engaging in a trade-up.

On the other hand, prime players can access this feature with ease as they are awarded weekly ‘drops’ on levelling up their rank, which augments their weapon skin collection.

How Does Trade-Ups Work?

Initially, it was assumed that the trade-ups were completely random. However, experts are trying to figure out the algorithms behind it. As of now, we have two driving forces in hand, that combine to determine the outcome of a Trade Up Contract.

Weapon Grade

The weapon grades that are eligible for trade-ups are Industrial Grade, Mil-Spec, Restricted, Classified, and Covert. Consumer Grade skins, knives, contrabands, and souvenirs aren’t eligible for trade-ups. One cannot also mix Normal and StatTrak™ weapon skins in a single Trade Up Contract.

The outcome of a trade-up is determined by the weapons that are listed for trade. For example, 5 skins from two different collections, each with one possible outcome, give a ½ chance to the outcome to be from one of the expected outcomes. Similarly, if a player uses 5 similar skins with one possible outcome and another 5 with three possible outcomes, it is expected that there is a 25% chance to receive a weapon from either of the possible outcomes.

Weapon Skin Condition

The weapon skin condition is determined by the float value of the skin. Float values range from 0-1, indicating the wear that a skin has been subjected to. Float values that are nearest to 0 are classified as Factory New, while float values that are close to 1 are for Battle Scarred skins.

The exact formula to find out the float value of an outcome skin is somewhat like this:

Output Float = Average Float of 10 skins* (Maximum Possible Float of Outcome – Minimum Possible Float of Outcome) + Minimum Possible Float.

By maintaining the average float value of the 10 skins below 0.07, one can expect to receive an outcome with a Factory New Skin.

When to Use the Trade Up Contract?

Weapon skins can be sold in the Steam Marketplace. However, if a player acquires a lot of low-tier skins that aren’t worth a value in the market, one can think of upgrading the skins using the Trade Up Contract. This is a great way to clear out junk items received from drops, with the possibility of getting a value for selling the upgraded item.

The Bottomline

The Trade Up Contract is not frequently used by a section of CS:GO players. However, regular gamers can think of trying this option out for making a profit from their acquired rewards. Now that you know how the Trade Up Contract works, you can use the knowledge to estimate the outcome and choose to carry on with a trade-up or wait for the right moment.