Cheating bans roil Counter-Strike eSports scene a week before its biggest tournament
Three professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players have been issued in-game bans for cheating.
Three professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players have been issued in-game bans for cheating, reports PC Gamer, and that has led to two teams' disqualification a week before the biggest CS:GO tournament, DreamHack Open: Winter.
PC Gamer, in an in-depth look at the bannings and their consequences, reports that in addition to removing high-profile players from a major event, the sanctions have "created a cloud of suspicion around other teams of players." The first player to be banned — from ESEA, a third-party matchmaking client for the game — alleged in a livestream on Friday that as much as 40 percent of the pro scene is using hacks.
Gone are Simon "smn" Beck, Gordon "Sf" Giry and Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian. The latter two were banned earlier this week by VAC — or Valve Anti-Cheat, the policing software keeping Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and numerous other games clean on Steam. Tovmassian was kicked off his team, Titan, and Giry was likewise dumped from his unit, Epsilon. Both teams have been disqualified from DreamHack Winter, and the teams replacing them were to be chosen at a special qualifier event yesterday.
DreamHack is an enormous exposition and eSports festival taking place in Sweden, often described as the "World's Largest LAN Party." The prize pool for CS:GO is $250,000. DreamHack already ran into controversy late last month when the expo's board sacked its longtime CEO.
PC Gamer points out that Titan won the DreamHack Invitational in September, and that Tovmassian, in a remorseful post on Facebook, denied using the cheat during that tournament. This isn't the first time professionals have been VAC banned, it it is a particularly bad time for it to happen.