A total of 37 coaches involved in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) have been banned.
An investigation by the Esports Integrity Commission concluded that a bug, going back several years, was being abused by coaches. Some of them have accepted the ban whilst others are set to appeal.
CS:GO is one of the most popular competitive games in the world, with teams competing for millions of pounds in prize money.
What is CS:GO?
Counter Strike has been around for twenty years, and earlier this year the latest version of a bug, or glitch, was found. It enabled coaches who oversee teams of gamers to get an unrestricted view of certain parts of the game’s maps – giving them a big advantage. Using the information, coaches could see what other teams were doing and then feed that information back to their own teams to act upon.
Esports host and gaming podcaster Frankie Ward told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat that the accused coaches’ actions are being seen in the gaming world as making a mockery of the system and abusing trust – especially given the prize money up for grabs can be anywhere between £75,000 and £1.5m.
What was the bug?
Game developers will tell you that when every game updates, glitches are inevitable. Frankie Ward said, “We love this game. So we have to take care of the game and the community and that means that when you see something that is not right, or not good for competitive integrity, you have to report it and try and get it changed.”
In Frankie’s opinion, the fact that many of the coaches involved were from top-level teams means they would’ve known they were unfairly gaining an advantage. “A tournament admin – like a referee during the matches – started an investigation to just double-check that coaches had not been using the bug that had been reported elsewhere,” she adds.
“He discovered a couple of incidents where it had definitely been used, with some quite high-profile coaches. They didn’t do the right thing and report it at the time”.
That investigation is still ongoing – meaning more bans could be issued in due course. But FaZe Clan, one of the teams involved, say they stand by their coach Robert Dahlstrom, who was accused of exploiting the bug.