The fire burning currently within the professional Counter-Strike scene can likely be viewed from miles away at this point; from allegations and accusations, public denouncement of fabled coaches from organizations, and a new managing organization in the form of ESIC having their work cut out for them in quite the unsightly manner.
All of this being layered onto the top of online tourney play scrambling teams every way possible, NA talent leaving for Valorant en masse, and an oversaturation of matches has turned Counter-Strike: Global Offensive into quite the spectacle.
Granted, it’s still far more stable than most other esport scenes meaning the professional CS:GO community is technically competing against itself in terms of stability and deeply-seated paths to pro play, but that doesn’t mean that the current spectacle is any less disheartening.
Yesterday, one of the administrators for ESIC that is looking into the exploitation of the coaching spectating bug has brought about a bit more unsightly news.
We still are not finished, but so far we've got confirmed cases of coach bug abuse going back to Q3 2015.
This means there has been five years of potential abuse, all because nobody wanted to publicly report it.
— Steve Dudenhoeffer (@steveduden) September 16, 2020
Steve Dudenhoeffer has been one of the members watching a flurry of matches, and to note that they’re stretching back half a decade could have massive repercussions for the CS:GO scene; trophies could suddenly find themselves up in the air, winnings returned to whoever should rightfully claim them.
When ESIC concludes their investigation, we all knew it wouldn’t be pretty; we didn’t think it could have the possibility of turning grotesque.
so many people must be complicit. really shit
— jerome joel josy (@_erome) September 16, 2020
Some are pointing towards coaches using the bug, and others are saying that Valve is ultimately at fault here for not acting on a gargantuan bug that had the potential to uproot the entirety of the scene; let us not forget that the entirety of the debate is happening online, which has killed nuance in its entirety.
This, combined with the match-fixing scandal that ESIC has similarly been tasked out to figure (best of luck with that one, mates) is a monumental black eye to a scene that many look at as the favored darling of esports; legends have risen and fallen, teams have cemented their names in history, and entire careers have been built off of singular clutches that seemed impossible.
All of it is now in danger, and the flurry of speculation and rearward glances with wild theories punctuate the rapid-fire matches of Counter-Strike that has players burning out at an obscene rate.
Some may point to this time as a turning point for the entirety of professional Counter-Strike in the near future: whether they point with indignation or as a turning point for the scene has yet to be seen.