How´s the future of Souvenirs going to look like? A Major without player signatures?
Souvenir is a category of skins, like StatTrak for example. Important to mention: StatTrak is a category that comes with the skins from cases, Souvenir is only from the collections! Most of the collections being referenced to maps, and that´s where we are getting into the real discussion. It is especially made to represent a signature from a game that's played at the highest level.
But how do you get them?
Souvenirs are obtainable just at Majors and with that only for the maps that are played there. Most map collections are pretty low or mid tier as skins composition, so like we saw all this time, there are maps with very low interest and the souvenirs from these being collected just by a very low amount of people. These Souvenirs are coming from packages, which used to be dropped to people that watched the games, and the amount of drops was determinated by the amount of watchers, long story short the souvenirs from they period when cs was not that popular have a really low amount.
The New System
At the last two Majors we saw that Valve had a new plan for these rewards (souvenir packages), they were not dropped randomly at end of the games anymore, instead you needed to make some small "quests" to get them. With the big difference that you now could choose from what match and what map you want the package. Additionally they let people buy an extra, infinite amount of them, which of course makes them less and less interesting and valuable, being not that rare at all.
We should expect to see exact the same for this Major, maybe with a different structure. Funny to mention some packages from this "infinite buy" Majors are actually rare, because no one bought them or not with a specific player at least, which is interesting in case someone will ever decide to collect "one of each player signature on all the possible maps".
Where´s the money
In the past we had the Cobblestone collection which had the ENDGAME skin, the AWP Dragon Lore, which was dropped at 10 Majors in the time when the drops where random, resulting in a steady price increase. The fact that it´s nearly impossible to open a Dragon Lore and combined with a high demand, it caused people to mass open packages which were limited, making the price going up always. Cobblestone got removed from the game before the London 2018 Major, consequently these packages are very expensive even tho they were dropped at 10 Majors.
It will be very interesting to see if Valve even adds back Cobble (might not be the case since it's out for three years already), but if it's gonna happen there will be a huge dip for all those who own Dlores, since basically there will be thousands of new Souvenir Dlores, that might make lot of people to actually drop from the game due to massive losses, which I don't think Valve wants. A move like that would make people very insecure with any collection investments. But even if they add in Cobble again it´s most likely that we will see a new collection.
A new chapter is about to start: This Major has huge potential in terms of souvenirs, we might see 4 NEW COVERTS, after 10 Majors with just one covert and 4 with 0 coverts! For sure we are going to see the Ancient Collection that hasn´t been in play ever before and has the M4A1 Welcome to the Jungle in it. Interesting that they buffed the A1 just before they release two Covert A1s, isn't it? Overall getting four coverts will be pretty crazy, since the demand and rarity of Souvenir Coverts is huge, but they might be not that rare at all if the amount of packages is basically infinite during the Major. Anyways with the rate of opening one for sure the skin itself will be pretty expensive.
In the last massive update we got a new operation with some new collections. Collections which are representing maps that are in the current map pool. We don't have an 100% confirmation that this collections will have souvenir versions at this Major, since the old version still exist, but it's very likely, and that will be huge ...
If we are going to have four covert skins the amount of packages that will be opened will be crazy and the price of them will also be quite high since they are very hard to open. Although it's important to mention that the demand will be very affected by the look of the new stickers.
Important to mention
The big difference between the Souvenir category and the StatTrak one is the fact that each souvenir is very unique and they are not able to be traded up into higher rarities, which is gonna create a huge price difference between the low grade skins and the higher one. In my opinion the low grade ones will be basically worthless if the amount of opened packages will be as high as everyone expect!
A Major without player signatures?
A very interesting subject that got debated on twitter over the last two days are the player signature stickers, which I would like to imagine from the miss communication or just lazyness got delayed for EU or at least that´s what we can deduct, since the other regions got asked for their signatures. Would have been very unexpected to get them removed from the game, since they are in the first place a very good income resurse for valve and as we know them they wouldn't let it go without a good reason(introduction something that will replace them somehow and to generate even more income), but outside of the economical aspect, it would be just sad, very sad to see them go. All the players that never made it to a Major and worked increadibly hard to reach that goal, want that unique inscription into the game, a way they will be forever reminded even tho they probbaly can't get on the big stage again. Additonally we didn't have a Major in 2 years and many players couldn't get at one because of their age, so such a big number of new talent will show up this time, would be heartbraking to refuse them their signature.
In my opinion it got to a point where there is no question to be asked. They are part of the prize for hard work of the player and should be there at every Major.
We might have the opportunity to see something unique at least for now, getting four huge collection with coverts, but at what cost? The CS:GO market didn't had a covert in Souvenir Packages for three years already. The market will be tested now and I don't think it's gonna hold a huge resistence. The crazy fact is that not only the people the want to open a covert will buy packages, many more will just buy them as investments.
I think we can expect over 1 milion of one souvneir type to be bought, most likely the most popular one will be the hydra. That´s also going to be combined with a huge amount of new stickers that will be bought, just so everyone remembers: at Berlin Major in 2019, Valve made a post saying they sold stickers of over 11 milion Dollars in value. That was two years ago, now CS is more popular and the market is much bigger. As we saw at the recent Operation, liquids will inevitable drop in price, cause people are looking to buy the pass, the stickers, the packages and mainly they are hungry for a new investment opportunity. Important to mention is the fact that the Steam Balance that moved around in Community Market is not infinite and the method has of selling on the SCM has huge issues when everyone wants to get some by selling items to others, because if no one is actually buying the prices will crash badly once again. A lot of people will might just deposit on steam instead of trying to get balance if the crash will be bad!