The CS:GO artist T-R3x3r shed some light on how much money map and skin makers earn in CS:GO. Visiting ohnePixel on stream, he said that the authors aren't banned from disclosing how much money they make on cosmetics and maps. Most likely, they just don't want to do it.
Probably, I can reveal [my earnings]. Skinmakers are also allowed to reveal how much they make [What?] Yeah-yeah, of course. The only thing you're not allowed to reveal is how that's calculated. But you're totally allowed to reveal the overall amount. <...>
They don't want to say it. It's the same thing as if you ask someone's salary.
OhnePixel interrupted T-R3x3r to confirm that he won't get in trouble. But the map maker said he was sure about it. Another artist Centaury, author of SG-553 | Atlas, joined the conversation and confirmed that they could disclose how much they make. He opted not to do it, but T-R3x3r named the approximate values.
T-R3x3r: Do you want to see how much skinmakers make for any case?
Centaury: The stats are different from case to case depending on how popular it is.
T-R3x3r: It's a pretty drastic difference between cases. A year ago, I made some calculations that are somewhat accurate. The average amount per skin made, if you take away the Hydra case because it's a very negative outlier, was making about $50k... that's pretty bad, but the average skin makes $400,000.
ohnePixel: A blue, pink, red, any?
T-R3x3r: Yeah. But there are some cases that are a lot higher, more than double. <...> The clutch case is a really positive outlier. And operational cases are generally a lot worse than normal cases. Here, I must be careful about what I can say.
Sticker incomes are much less than the skin ones, according to T-R3x3r, but he couldn't provide an approximate number. On the same day, data miner and founder of SteamDB, Pavel "thexpaw" Djundik, revealed an API line from the game files with alleged payments for Anubis and Tuscan. OhnePixel showed these lines to T-R3x3r, and the map maker was surprised that Valve bought Tuscan. "That's the [only] new information here," replied the artist.
He thinks that the disparity in cost between maps and skins is unfair. T-R3x3r has three maps added to the game: Frostbite, Calavera, and Vineyard. The latter received a 10% increase in payment after he didn't accept the initial offer from Valve.
It's unclear if T-R3x3r used only the publically available data or his own insight information too. He claims that there was a leaked formula from Valve "that everyone could see" at some point, but later the developers fixed it. According to estimations made in 2021, T-R3x3r's numbers look close to reality. We ended up with a number of $300,000 in income per skin in the first year. Considering the case sales drop with time, this looks almost the same. We made a very rough estimation for a general picture, so it's nowhere near proof, but we also skipped some factors that could've produced even higher outcomes.