Professional Gamers Banned For Cheating

Game1Lionel Bonaventure / Getty ImagesProfessional gaming contests can mean big bucks for players.

Three professional gamers received lifetime bans in the last few weeks amid allegations of cheating in their e-sport. All three gamers played a first-person shooter game called “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” one of the biggest games for professional PC gaming in the world.

Furthering the problem is that this all happened on the eve of the last DreamHack tournament of the year, an event with a sizable quarter-million-dollar prize purse for the winning team.

According to a recent PCGamer article, semi-professional German player Simon Beck, known by the user name “smn,” was caught cheating by an anti-cheat client during a casual pick-up game, a game often used for practice. 

ESEA, an E-Sports Entertainment Community that tracks league play and actively discourages cheating, reported the problem to Valve, the parent company of the “Counter Strike” (CS) game.

According to a TechGraphs article, the hack worked by enhancing a player’s aiming ability. This slight improvement, though not demonstrative enough to easily notice in a fast-paced game, has been speculated to increase a player’s shot accuracy by as much as 10%. The cheat was downloaded through a Steam workshop — a practice space where players can modify their characters — and activated when the player accesses their modifications.

After learning from ESEA how they were cheating, Valve upgraded their own anti-cheat system which led to two professional French players — team Titan’s Hovik Tovmassian, and Gordon Giry of Epsilon, known in-game as “Kqly” and “SF,” respectively — getting caught using the same hack shortly thereafter.

All of the players involved later admitted to the use of the hack software, which has led to rampant speculation as to the scope of the problem in the online community. According to a recent article on The Daily Dot, Beck followed his own dismissal by releasing a list of people he believes are cheating — as much as 40% of professional players, he says — with top tier gamers among them. 

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