15 More CSGO Coaches Implicated in Bug Exploit Scandal
The CSGO community was rocked last week when it was discovered that three coaches had been abusing an observer bug in recent events for an unfair advantage. These three coaches were given bans of varying lengths as punishment for abusing the exploit: Ricardo “dead” Sinigaglia received a six-month ban for using the bug on one round in the ESL One: Road to Rio CSGO event. Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen received a 12-month ban for using it in 10 rounds at DreamHack Masters Spring. Finally, Aleksandr “zoneR” Bogatiryev was banned for 24 months for using the bug on a total of six maps in the ESL One: Road to Rio tournament.
However, the Esports Integrity Coalition is conducting an investigation as we speak, and according to a report from DBLTAP’s Jarek “Dekay” Lewis, 15 more coaches have been implicated as using this bug to some advantage.
Several coaches have publicly admitted to using the bug, so as to hopefully lessen their punishment including Solaar, Pita, Regin, F_1N, prd, and casle. A few of these coaches have already been suspended by their organizations, but Valve and ESL have yet to comment on their punishments.
The other coaches will be revealed by the ESIC investigation, with Valve’s punishments coming after the conclusion of that.
What Has Valve Said?
Valve recently laid down the law about their feelings on the exploitation of this bug, however much blame falls on them for not detecting it sooner.
“Recently we’ve been made aware that several coaches of professional CSGO teams exploited a bug in the game in order to gain an advantage over their opponents,” Valve said. “It is unfortunate and frustrating that we did not respond to this bug sooner. But bugs are the reality of software—and until they are resolved, we need to be able to trust players and coaches. We won’t spend much time here reiterating our stance on the importance of integrity in CSGO matches. At a minimum, we expect that players and coaches will play by the rules, and immediately pause the match and alert tournament admins if they know of an issue that may give them (or an opponent) an unfair advantage.”
These CSGO teams are being punished for their coaches using the exploit by having their RMR points reset, but no further punishment was announced at this time, including bans.
“As for taking action against individual coaches, we’re going to wait until we get a complete picture of the extent of the bug abuse and the punishments handed down by third parties,” Valve explained. “Regardless of those penalties, mid-match coaching will always be a tempting opportunity for some teams to violate the integrity of the match. So we may also consider limitations to coaching.”
What Limitations to Coaching Could Be Coming?
Since this exploit was able to occur thanks to coaches getting to observe matches in game and communicate with their team between rounds, its entirely possible that Valve could change the structure of CSGO to either eliminate the coaching position altogether, or perhaps limit the amount that coaches can communicate between rounds.
If the latter were to happen, it’s possible that coaches could become a thing of the past, with them moving to more of an analyst type position. Or, Valve could restrict it to between halves, which would lower the amount of impact that a coach could have, bug or no bug.
Why Is This Important?
The implications of this are widespread and massive for CSGO. If the investigation uncovers too many more coaches, the entire structure of the game could be changed, with the careers of several coaches hanging in the balance.
More importantly, however, fan trust in the game could be completely shattered. Fans have to be able to believe that the moments they are seeing on screen are completely fair and not aided by a bug, hacking, or otherwise not playing fair. Otherwise, there’s no point at all for people to get excited about a play when they aren’t sure if it was skill, or just having superior knowledge that led to the moment.
The future of CSGO hangs in the balance and it’s up to ESIC, Valve, the teams, and players to hold the folks accountable as they should be.