5 Biggest eSports scandals
A decade ago nobody knew what eSports was, frankly most of us were still figuring out how to get the internet to work.
Since the days of dial up online video gaming, aka eSports, has grown into a multi million pound industry, with the best players taking home sums of money that would make professional athletes jealous.
With all that dosh swirling around it wasn’t going to be long before people got led astray, so here is our list of the biggest eSports scandals.
5. The Hearthstone Sexism Scandal
Gaming has always loved a scandal, and sexism is it’s favourite new topic, replacing the outdated idea that playing Call of Duty makes you a serial killer. The sexism scandal got so big it got its very own hashtag (#GamerGate).
However the Hearthstone sexism debacle predates GG, and all those outraged articles on The Guardian.
For reasons we can only guess at, the International eSports Federation (yes such thing exists) put a ban on female players, which unsurprisingly caused a bit of a stir. Perhaps it was to spare the other competitors from making awkward small talk with a member of the opposite sex, something one would expect they do not excel in.
After universal, or at least global condemnation the IeSF rejoined the 21st Century and allowed women to play. Well done lads.
4. CoD4 Player Switch
In the faceless world of eSports there are two key ways to identify a player: their very public in-game name, and their IP address.
So, when the Call of Duty team FatGaming tried to field an ineligible player – D1ablo – it wasn’t long before people caught on. In gaming terms this was the equivalent of Leo Messi pulling on Andy Carroll’s shirt and turning out for West Ham one weekend.
To FatGaming’s credit, they took this well, oh wait, no they didn’t. Their official message was: “One of our players is a cheat, but he’s better than the one who sucks!”
D1ablo and FatGamer Stat, who made way for the former, were banned for 6 months and their team was heavily penalised.
3. Bitcoin Mining
For the unaware, Bitcoins are a form of anonymous online currency. Aside from being extremely volatile, its primary use is to buy dodgy things online.
To get Bitcoins one has to “mine” them, which involves running lots of software for hours on end and doing various complex computer things that are best left unexplained, for the sake of this article.
The eSports Entertainment Association issued an anti-cheat patch which was downloaded by roughly 15,000 computers. The exciting twist to this patch was tucked away in the software was all the programmes needed to mine Bitcoins.
After a fortnight this was discovered and many excuses were made, rogue employee, April Fools joke (I kid you not) and presumably something about ghosts in the machine and just doing it for the “banter”.
The eSEA were landed with a hefty fine and a stern warning not to do such things again. Good result all round.
2. 2012 MLG Summer Championships
In the annals of League of Legends scandals, and biggest eSports scandals in general, the 2012 MLG Championship was especially tragic.
Having battled their way to the final, team Dignitas and Curse NA decided to split the winnings 50/50 regardless of outcome, and were therefore somewhat demotivated when the final came around.
Their choice for first round was a mode called “All Random, All Mid”, which is like the two finalists of this years Champions League coming out and having a game of keepie uppie. Aside from their cheating it was a massive two fingers to the fans who had gathered to watch this “spectacle.”
The usual fines were dished out and everyone learnt a valuable lesson about not being an idiot. Did put a bit of a dent in the MLG brand though.
1. Starcraft 2 Match Fixing – The Biggest eSports Scandal
In the world of eSports and video games this was the equivalent of the infamous 1919 World Series, except it happened in Korea, and involved a video game. But that at least gives some idea of the magnitude of this Starcraft match fixing scandal.
Starcraft 2 has become huge business, and whether you’re Tony Soprano or a spotty gamer, the chance to grab some ill gotten gains is just too damn tempting.
In 2010 online betting websites approach some of the games biggest names and offered them the traditional suitcase full of cash to throw key matches, and the chance to bet on the outcome. For a while they got away with it, until a some clever clogs posted an article online about it.
The scandal was big enough to reach the BBC, and other reputable sources that don’t usually cover eSports squabbles.
The aftermath saw 11 of the mischief makers banned from SC2 for life, bit of a shame if you’ve devoted your precious teenage years to it.
Love a good scandal? Check out our piece on the biggest scandals in real sports.