The Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association disputed tournament organizer (TO), BLAST, for their past handling of voice communications and video recording, while expressing concern for the Fall Finals. Mousesports and Team Vitality delayed the start of the event, and the larger community took notice.
At the core of the issue, CS:GO players wanted to open a dialogue with BLAST on how sensitive voice comms can be used, stored, and deleted prior to, during, and after an event. Additionally, teams want BLAST to find a solution to the video screen recordings for players that “severely affect performance of the PC.”
The CSPPA couldn’t reach BLAST about the “harmful and illegal” measures the TO implemented for the Fall Finals, the player’s association said.
Player representatives from every BLAST Premier Fall 2020 Finals protested the event, though later began play as both groups opened a channel of communication to this point.
CS:GO community divided
There are a few camps on this issue across the CS:GO community. Some back the players and want to hold the competitive integrity of the event to the highest possible standards.
“TOs should not be recording Comms without player permission,” esports trailblazer Adam Apicella said. “Additionally, if they are recorded, there needs to be explicit parameters around their use. Players should worry about competing, not wondering what strategies they’re exposing or worried about speaking properly.”
TOs should not be recording Comms w/out player permission. Additionally, if they are recorded, there needs to be explicit parameters around their use
Players should worry about competing, not wondering what strategies they're exposing or worried about speaking properly
— Adam Apicella (@MrAdamAp) December 8, 2020
The TS content from BLAST was probably the best thing added to a broadcast this year and we should find a way to keep it a part of it.
That being said, having been on the wrong side of these recordings myself at BLAST LA, protecting the teams is the priority before all else. https://t.co/YDorDrRvaP
— Janko Paunovic (@YNk) December 8, 2020
It's very important for TOs to have an open dialogue with us players (through CSPPA) about our concerns, we support this decision.
Hopefully there will be no need for rough measures in the future, dialogue solves it all. https://t.co/lIJIMqWNZO
— Andrei Piovezan (@arTcsgo) December 8, 2020
Others believe that, while an important issue to discuss, this united front among CS:GO players and teams is far too late or a half-hearted attempt to actually ensure fair playing conditions and rights of those in the esport.
“I get players not wanting to be recorded,” CS:GO’s Erik ‘fl0m’ Flombut said. “But where the f**k was this stand for players when you guys agreed to halve Pro League and unemployed literally half of Pro League overnight and then let ESL push it as some good thing for the scene.”
We tried our best in that situation but sadly couldn't get it all the way how players wanted. Sorry we in don't have full control over @ESLCS fl0m. But I agree it was weird to "push" it as only a good thing eventhough it hurt so many players.
— Chris de Jong (@chrisJcsgo) December 8, 2020
Stacked with players that are boycotting a 400k USD tournament over a non-issue because they've been told to by a bunch of leeching losers who are trying to justify their paychecks somehow. https://t.co/dJCsDk5rN1
— Semmler (@OnFireSemmler) December 8, 2020
In a year where online competitive integrity has been severely compromised by the coaching bug and stream sniping I’m a bit perplexed by the angst towards recording voice comms.
Such recordings have the ability to be exculpatory for those who actually don’t cheat.
— Jason Lake (@JasonBWLake) December 8, 2020
Meanwhile, onlookers like Call of Duty legend, James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks, was surprised to see the extent of voice comms integrated in BLAST’s production, specifically in the BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles.
“This whole BLAST thing is kinda nuts,” Clayster said. “Listen-ins are a fun part of CoD in certain game-modes, but I just saw this clip and honestly I’d be furious if something this specific was broadcast live. Curious how the CDL stores all our comms/cams.”
BLAST and the CSPPA are expected to begin discussions on the best way to align their interests as it pertains to player video screens and voice recordings.