A Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Scandal

As popularity in a sport grows, so too can the inherent trappings that go along with being in the mainstream. Fame and money come into it, which can sometimes lead to foul play. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a game by Valve Corporation that will be shown on the X Games in January, was hit with a massive cheating scandal over the past few days. Already three individual professional  players and two teams have been banned by Valve’s anti-cheat program, VAC.

The actual cheats themselves was detected not by Valve, but rather a competitive gaming league, ESEA. Once confirmed as a cheat, the league contacted Valve directly regarding the cheating and thus the bans were handed down via Valve Anti-Cheat or VAC. The programs used to improve the player’s aim is allegedly contained within a mouse software or on Valve’s own Steam Cloud, thus both went previously undetected by VAC as well as being usable while playing in a live-in person tournament. A game hack to improve aim such as an aimbot or aim lock, when the player has no vision or knowledge of the opposing player, is a blatant cheat.

The three players banned by VAC — dubbed as a VACation by reddit’s r/globaloffensive — are Simon “smn” Beck, Gordon “SF” Giry and Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian. The significance of such an advantage cannot be understated, as killing the opposing team is often required to win rounds. In a competitive format, the first teams usually play a best of 3 across three different maps. First team to 16 round wins will take the map win.

These bans, as well as other players coming under suspicion, most notably Robin “Flusha” Rönnquist, come just before a major tournament at DreamHack Winter. According the DH website, the CS:GO alone portion of the tournament offers a prize pool of $250,000. Of the original eight invited teams to DH, two teams with the now banned cheaters have been disqualified.

With esports gaining more momentum and access to casual fans as well as the inquiring non-gamer, to see a cheating scandal of this magnitude hurts the CS:GO community, though not all is lost. While cheating is nothing new, other esports have had such events unfold and bounced back. In June of 2010, the StarCraft community was rocked when a match fixing scandal was confirmed in the most prestigious SC league, ProLeague. Then a total of 11 players were confirmed for throwing games in exchange for money from various gambling websites. While it is an entirely different game, it does give hope to CS:GO enthusiasts about bouncing back.

(Image via Valve’s Steam Store)


You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.

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7 years ago

Match-fixing also spawned a now-famous Dota 2 meme when one player bet against his team and won $322 dollars in a relatively small tournament match. He was almost instantly found out, and banned for life from competitive play.