Seven professional Counter Strike Global Offence players have been banned due to match-fixing from any Valve sponsored events in the future. It was during the finals between two North American teams iBUYPOWER and Netcodeguides.com in the season 5 of CEVO professional league.
The outcome of the match was predictable since the players of iBUYPOWER were dominating the whole event but end up losing to the inferior team by a huge difference. The end score was 16 points for Netcodeguides and only 4 for iBUYPOWER.
At the start, there were only allegations about the event, but further investigation by the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) revealed that the players bet against themselves and end up losing the game. Like any other sports league ESL too has strict restrictions when it comes to cheating or betting. Seven players out of eight-player team were banned indefinitely from any valve sponsored event and also the ESL events.
Later on July 24, 2017, the ex IBP players were unbanned from the ESL events and a few months after that Dreamhacks another company that organizes professional gaming events lifted the ban from the players. It was the first event since the start of the CS: GO tournaments that the players cheated.
Unfortunately, another event of cheating in the professional CS: GO events has come to the surface when the player from OpTic India Nikhil “forsaken” Kunawat was caught cheating on LAN during the eXTREMELAND Asia finals. The officials tried to cover the incident, and ESIC started further investigations.
OpTic India won the ESL India premiership, ESL India requested ESIC to have a close look at the alleged player, and the evidence they found was pointing the fingers towards the Pro player. The same cheats were found in the players SSD card, and many nuances of the same cheats were also found in the Indian premiership. No cheats were found in the SSD cards of the other OpTic India players.
Due to the fact that a substantial amount of the evidence was present online many people demanded a lifetime ban for the player, but ESIC showed full control of the situation and analyzed it carefully. They also contacted the player so that he can view the evidence that is against him and plead a guilty or challenge against the actions to be conducted by the ESIC.
After no response from the player, ESIC announced a 5-year ban from any time of Esports league for the player. The fans of the global franchise demanded a lifetime ban for the player, but the investigation head of the case told people on a podcast interview that the previous offense was indirectly related to the player and the punishment of the first crime is the same that is given to the player.
Both of these events have affected the integrity control of competitive games and has caused a big problem for the future events of ESL or Valve. Integrity is essential for any sports; it ensures that the matches that were played were matches in real, not scripted events.
Without the necessary checks and balances, these matches will resemble more of a sitcom than sports. Cheating in the esports leagues is especially difficult to catch since the prevalent use of computers the cheaters try to find the way around of the security programs these games have and CS: GO has been suffering these security breaches for quite some time.
Using an aimbot in Counter Strike Global Offense is similar to chewing the ball in cricket, it gives a huge advantage to the player that is why the use of Aimbots is banned in big leagues.
Unfortunately, in case of CS: GO the cheating code is so easily available and easy to use that the cheats are becoming elusive day by day. Not to mention these cheats are getting better with the additional improvement which not only poses a great threat to the great game but also on the Esports leagues too.
The main consequence of these breaches is on ourselves and esports, players who cheat or fix the match not only ruin their career but also ruin the integrity of the games in question and hence their developers. It is one of the reasons why esports is falling behind any other sports and is still unable to get them as much global recognition as other sports as football do. It also loosens the trust of the investors that are investing in the gaming industry in general when such big tournaments that require a huge chunk of money gets rigged.
However, according to that the situation is getting better day by day since the last incident no other incident has been recorded, and in future, it can be safely said that the esports gaming would become a pure sport with no cheating.
Lastly, I hope that these players learn from their mistakes and use their expertise to construct a better world in esports so that the budding industry gets developed into a profitable venture.