Are Bug Exploits ESports’ Growth Hormone? Cheating Scandals Reviewed

Every professional sport has its Achilles’ heel and it seems as though eSports are no different. But, as the nature of the game dictates, instead of having problems with the use of all sorts of illegal substances, bug exploits are the issue to beat.

Cheating scandals aren’t anything new in the world of sport, and eSports are certainly not excluded from that. Hacking, using bugs, illegal player betting and all other sorts of exploitation have been around as long as the game has, and are here to stay. But what are the reasons behind it and how can it be stopped are the main questions troubling fans (and organizations) across the community.

What Are Bug Exploits Exactly?

Before we get into those burning questions, let’s first determine what those misconducts even include. And we don’t have to go far in time to come across one of the biggest scandals in CS:GO history. About two months ago, in September 2020, the eSports world was hit hard by the afflictions in the elite realm of CS:GO professionals. Up to now there are 37 coaches under the suspension because of their use of the so called spectator’s bug, which allowed them to have an overview of the whole map and in that way have all the information about their opponents’ locations.

From the information ESIC (ESports Integrity Commission) obtained, the bug was used as early as 2016 and was even reported to the admins of some tournaments, but since they weren’t a part of ESIC, they weren’t investigated until veteran referee Michal Slowinski came forward with the information earlier this year. The length of time alone, but also supported by the fact it was already reported on several occasions and the number of coaches that used it, leads us to believe it was really kind of a public secret in the community.

Nevertheless, that fact seems to be ignored, which is kind of in line with the stance most teams decided to take when it comes to disciplining their coaches. In fact, almost all of them decided to keep their coaches on their positions, meaning they will resume their work after their ESIC bans expire. Sure, there were statements issued, where most of those coaches basically said they are very sorry and they won’t do it again, but why did they do it in the first place is the question everybody should be asking. Yet no one seems to want to. For example, Heroic, the current number one team in the world, decided to keep HUNDEN, their coach who was also a part of the bug exploit scandal, with an explanation that “we all make mistakes”, which makes us think that this kind of behaviour is only (lightly) publicly frowned upon, while under the surface there is possibly some blind-eye-turning going on.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that all of the accused coaches claim none of the players knew anything about it, but ESIC left that part of the investigation open, saying that the claim cannot be proven.

How To Move On From Here

So what does all of this say about the overall eSports climate currently? First of all, some people obviously think they can get away with doing morally questionable moves. Secondly, it would be naïve to think those kinds of behaviours wouldn’t arise when there is so much money at stake in such a fast growing industry. Also, these kinds of events put somewhat of a dark cloud over the whole industry, which is visible across the community, with some news outlets even accusing the cheaters that they have “killed the CS:GO scene”.

Of course, not everything is so bad and there are solutions to the problems. Regulatory bodies such as ESIC are obviously doing their jobs and it’s sensible to expect they will gain even more authority as the industry grows. The expanding industry will also mean more players and coaches, meaning more competitors for the high level positions which could very well lead to teams having no problem replacing wrong-doers when they have so many in the line waiting. And those are just a few of many possibilities.

Do you have any idea about this because you are such a game insider? If you do, feel free to share them with us on social media, but also feel free to play our pick6 where you can demonstrate your knowledge and capitalize on it. Do it today, there’s still some time to play the latest CS:GO fixtures.