The ongoing scandal surrounding the coaching bug isn’t the only competitive integrity issue facing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive at the moment.
According to the Esports Integrity Commission’s Ian Smith, the ESIC believes there is a pervasive stream sniping issue within the CSGO pro scene that has been exacerbated by the increasing reliance on online leagues. Smith discussed the matter with HLTV.
“We’ve got factually substantiated reports of stream sniping. I won’t go into too much detail because we’re going to explain all of this in a release, but this is a really big deal…it’s against the rules,” Smith said.
“We’ve got factually substantiated reports on stream sniping”@bristollawyer says that we’ll soon hear on the stream sniping abuse that was happening during online leagues.
— HLTV Confirmed (@HLTVconfirmed) September 28, 2020
Stream sniping is the act of watching a stream of an ongoing match in order to gain information on the locations and strategies of opponents. The phenomenon rose to prominence in battle royales including Fortnite. Fans would watch their favorite player’s stream in order to track their location in hopes of killing them while they were broadcasting.
Using streams to gain a tactical and information advantage on opponents is something that has impacted many different games in recent years. In CSGO, opponents can get a read on how a team is positioning its players and potentially the amount of utility they are facing in a round.
It’s unclear how many teams are suspected of stream sniping or who may be involved.
All esports titles have faced issues with competitive integrity at some point, but CSGO has had a particularly rough year. Alongside the normal roundup of match fixing scandals that impact all esports, CSGO has seen a number of issues when it comes to cheating.
While there haven’t been any credible allegations of players cheating in-game, there have been a host of other issues by those who aren’t actually firing the rifles.
Alongside the possibility of stream sniping, CSGO is currently facing a new era when it comes to coaching due to a cheating scandal surrounding the so-called “coaching bug.” This allowed coaches to move their camera during rounds, allowing them to gain extra vision on enemy movements they shouldn’t have otherwise been privy to. A number of coaches have already been suspended for using it, and dozens have already been caught using it during pro matches.
Because the live broadcasts of tournaments are typically delayed by a few minutes, stream sniping in CSGO doesn’t have the serious implications that it would in other game. This certainly doesn’t help a game that’s already facing serious controversy.