Yet another shoe of the ongoing Counter-Strike controversies has dropped, with only one remaining (that is publically known) in the rampant string of cheating accusations and bizarre issues of integrity that has seemed to plague the scene since the esport has gone online, and played in servers instead of the standard offline events that have punctuated the scene for well over a decade at this point.
This is regarding the recently confronted stream-sniping that some teams have been caught doing during matches, gaining information on default set-ups of opposing teams along with historical economy and strategies.
The most common excuse offered by fans that have had their teams shown to be stream-sniping during official matches, such as the notorious MIBR, is that the stream has a delay that typically hovers around four minutes, rendering the information gleaned from streams as moot.
However, many professional players and analysts have strongly disagreed; even knowing a default for a team can be a monumental influence to counter that team’s preferred set-up, which can force them to play on the backfoot with a singular well-placed molly early in a round.
In spite of this, and many presuming that even more slap-downs were incoming, ESIC has stunned the Counter-Strike community with a singular laborious announcement.
ESIC reinforces prohibition on stream sniping in CSGO with its notification of a zero tolerance policy.
“ESIC has received and assessed compelling evidence depicting that this behavior has been taking place on an alarmingly regular basis and at all levels of competition.” (1/2) pic.twitter.com/ExYLGUkh9S
— ESIC (@ESIC_Official) December 2, 2020
Instead of issuing any punishments, they’re stating a ‘zero-tolerance’ for the issue moving forwards. This means MIBR watching their plays against OG on December 1st on Flashpoint won’t be penalized, and the match going the full three rounds with a close victory on the first map for MIBR has more than a few arching their brows.
This is a marked removal from how ESIC handed out bans (that were quickly circumnavigated by multiple Counter-Strike teams flaunting their power in a decentralized esport scene) regarding the coach spectating exploit that multiple coaches readily used for years to gain an unfair upper hand; there is a valid line of reasoning that can draw a line between how eager organizations were to obey the Esports Integrity Coalition to this admittedly weak-wristed slap to multiple teams.
All that remains from ESIC as far as Counter-Strike is concerned for the moment, is the match-fixing conundrum that has many current Valorant professional players being named and shamed in various forums, alleging that the players fixed matches for bettors before shifting from Counter-Strike over to Valorant.
The report on this is already months overdue, and it doesn’t appear to be getting any easier for the coalition to discern the right and wrong of the allegations.
It’s hard not to wonder if they’ll similarly implement a soft ‘zero tolerance’ policy moving forward.