Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) has always been one of
the most fun and competitive games since it was released worldwide in 2012.
With the eSports world getting bigger and bigger over the years, there’s no
doubt that CS: GO is going to keep thriving.
However, with the arrival of professional teams and competitive
events to CS: GO, other things such as scandals, bans, and toxic communities
among the game also arrived. The first – and one of the biggest – scandals to
happen in the CS: GO professional community took place in 2015 when the North
American teams iBUYPOWER and NetCodeGuides were involved in a match-fixing
scandal after one of their matches.
It all started on August 20, 2014, at the CEVO Professional
League’s Season Five. The teams iBUYPOWER and NetCodeGuides were matched
against each other; up until then, everything seemed to be going well. While
the fan-favorite for the match was iBUYPOWER, they lost heavily to the opposing
team with an ending score of 16 – 4.
The team justified their loss with jetlag or unfamiliarity with
the map in which they were playing. However, many fans and spectators pointed
out that the team was executing odd plays in the match, such as trying knife
kills randomly. There were early rumors that the game was fixed, but no one
paid attention to them until the eSports journalist, Richard Lewis, stepped up
with a follow-up article on January 16, 2015.
The Match-Fixing Scandal
The first article was composed of various screenshots of text
and chat messages with Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan. In these messages, Khan revealed
that the match was, in fact, fixed, but he refused to reveal who the person
responsible for the match-fixing itself was. However, when the case came back
in 2015, another string of screenshots surfaced. This time, the conversations
were with Derek “dboorn” Boorn. Boorn confirmed that he had bet with Duc “Cud”
Pham on that specific match, and that iBUYPOWER was supposed to lose.
According to the article, Boorn used several alternate accounts
to bet on the “CS: GO Lounge” site. Over $10k-worth of bets were placed on the
match, and Boorn redistributed about $7k-worth of in-game skins after the
match. After some investigation on Valve’s behalf, the company confirmed that
there was an unusual pattern of high-value-item betting by Pham and Boorn.
After all the facts came to light, Valve took action and banned
the following people indefinitely from professional tournaments sponsored by
Foster (Founder of NetCodeGuides)
The remaining players signed to the NetCodeGuides team left and
started another group with the name Mythic. In 2017, the ex-players from
iBUYPOWER were unbanned from ESEA and ESL events, with exception of events that
were partnered with Valve. DreamHack also stepped up that year and lifted the
indefinite bans from all the players, allowing them to participate in future
While this was the first scandal ever, there are still smaller
instances of match-fixing and cheating. These issues are continually being
fought by eSports organizations and gaming companies to ensure fair,