Counter-Strike scene in turmoil following bans
The world of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is in upheaval following a series of cheating accusations and suspensions at the game's highest levels.
The turmoil began when Simon “smn” Beck, a German semi-professional Counter-Strike player, was banned. Beck was caught cheating by ESEA’s anti-cheat client during a pick-up game. This began a chain of events that have thrown the Counter-Strike scene into chaos.
Valve reached out to ESEA to discuss how Beck’s cheats were detected, a discussion Valve used to upgrade its anti-cheat system. Shortly after, the new system caught two top French Counter-Strike players, Titan’s Hovik “Kqly” Tovmassian and Epsilon’s Gordon “Sf” Giry.
This led to rampant industry speculation over just how many players have been involved in cheating. And fans haven’t had to look far for other potentially guilty gamers.
Earlier today, Beck allegedly released a list of names that implicated a number of players considered to be among the world’s best, playing for some of the world's top teams. Beck appeared to deny that the list was his, but later confirmed on his Twitch channel that he believes everyone named is cheating.
The allegations could have dramatic repercussions if proven true. DreamHack, organizer of next week’s DreamHack Winter event, has already disqualified Titan and Epsilon from the 16-team, $250,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament. The two French squads will be replaced with winners from a snap qualifier organized by DreamHack and Valve.
But the list of players alleged to have cheated includes members of multiple teams still scheduled to participate in the event.
If more bans are coming, it's possible that Valve and DreamHack could work together to reconfigure the tournament and compensate for the loss this would bring.
At least one thing has added credibility of the accusations: One of the implicated players, Fabien “Kioshima” Fiey, recently moved his entire inventory of in-game goods, all of which have monetary value, off his Steam account.
Fiey insisted the move was made in response to his personal accounts being hacked, though the timing certainly raises eyebrows.
Whatever the case, suspicions within the Counter-Strike community are now at an all-time high. Speculation over what will happen next has overtaken any discussion of the upcoming major, and even professional players have taken to social media to call out others and speculate on potential future bans.
Community stalwart and Ninjas in Pyjamas team manager Emil “Heaton” Christensen even took to Swedish television, calling the news sad but expected given the increasing money in professional Counter-Strike.
DreamHack has promised to take further precautions next week to prevent any cheating at the event, though it's yet to lay out a specific plan.
Screengrab via Nataliya Homenko/YouTube