After nearly two weeks of admissions from teams and coaches that they used a long-running exploit to gain advantages in competitive matches, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive developer Valve has finally commented on the scandal.
In an announcement that came alongside the developer’s decision to cancel the ESL One Rio Major, Valve also handed down penalties to teams who had been caught abusing a spectator bug to view enemy teams. The list of offenders is long: MIBR, mousesports, FURIA, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and more. But unlike Valve’s swift and heavy-handed response to the banning of iBUYPOWER after its match-fixing scandal in 2015, Valve’s current response is more akin to a slap on the wrist.
I am going to make a lot of Brazilian fans hate me even more with this tweet, but… take a look yourself.
ECS Season 7 Week 2 against Complexity (abused it whole map). He was also bugged in a match day earlier (vs. LG) and decided to reconnect to get it fixed. FACEIT informed. pic.twitter.com/Ha35uROavI
— Michal Slowinski (@michau9_) September 2, 2020
According to CSGO’s official blog post, teams that have been caught using the bug in official tournaments are only required to forfeit the Regional Ranking points used to qualify for the now nonexistent ESL One Rio Major. Furthermore, Valve had decided to wait until third-party organizers including FACEIT, ESL, and FLASHPOINT have concluded their own investigations into the matters before they render their decision.
Valve’s choice here has once again shown that the company is happy to let others do their work for them, despite the indefinite bans it once handed down to players who fixed a match for a relatively small sum of cash. Now, with the stakes much higher and the prize pools involved much larger, Valve has decided to pass the buck.
Just wait until the list of coaches who cheated drops. That is going to be one of the wildest days in some time. It can be a new beginning, though, and a very important turning point for the competitive scene.
— Thorin (@Thorin) September 9, 2020
That said, Valve has already decided to disqualify any teams that were found to be using the exploit during Regional Ranking tournaments. As for the coaches themselves, Valve left the situation murky.
“As for taking action against individual coaches, we’re going to wait until we get a complete picture of the extent of the bug abuse and the punishments handed down by third parties. Regardless of those penalties, mid-match coaching will always be a tempting opportunity for some teams to violate the integrity of the match. So we may also consider limitations to coaching,” Valve said.
Limitations for coaching had already been in place for several years under Valve’s own orders, allowing coaches to communicate with their teams only during timeouts. That ruling was reversed earlier this year with the approval of Valve and tournament organizers. Ultimately, how Valve decides to handle these infractions could have lasting effects on the future of CSGO.