The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has announced that it has provisionally suspended three CS:GO coaches attending PGL Major Antwerp as part of its investigation into the historical use of the spectator bug.
ESIC did not name the coaches that have been suspended from all member events, only stating that these cases are tied to the two more serious variants of the spectactor bug, with another update expected shortly.
Dexerto’s Editor-at-Large Richard Lewis revealed on March 29 that “as many as 52 CS:GO coaches” could face sanctions as ESIC was in the final stages of an investigation into the historical use of the spectator bug.
The article explained that one of the reasons for the slow nature of the investigation was the existence of other variants of the spectator bug, which came to light in August 2020.
The more common version of the bug, called “static view” by Michal Slowinski (the tournament admin that played a central role in uncovering the bug scandal in 2020), led to 37 CS:GO coaches being banned in September 2020 for periods ranging from just under four months to three years.
According to ESIC, the static bug affected 47 coaches that have not yet been sanctioned, bringing the total number of cases to 84. For these new cases, ESIC will continue to follow the sanctioning matrix that it adopted for the first wave of bans, with the coaches being provisionally suspended from all ESIC member events “pending resolution of the charges.”
ESIC to Imminently Issue Charges Resulting From Historical Spectator Bug Investigation
In the statement, ESIC identifies its intended treatment for three forms of Spectator Bug discovered which collectively impact 134 participants.
— ESIC (@ESIC_Official) May 5, 2022
ESIC acknowledge the existence of two other variants of the bug, called “free roam” and “third-person”, both of which were revealed by Dexerto.
On February 9, Dexerto reported that former Cloud9 coach Soham ‘valens’ Chowdhury had encountered this variant of the bug in an October 2017 match against Team Liquid. valens, who told Dexerto he came across the spectator bug “several times without knowing what it was”, also experienced the static view variant on a number of occasions.
Jaxon reported on April 22 that Brazilian coach Luis ‘peacemaker’ Tadeu also encountered the free roam bug while coaching Heroic in 2018. peacemaker is due to attend the Antwerp Major with Imperial.
ESIC has determined that the advantages provided by the free roam variant are akin to those “of a map hack, wall hack, or other cheat.” As such, the esports watchdog added, this variant is “far more serious” than the other two and may carry a sanction “of up to 24 months”.
According to ESIC, this variant of the bug affected only three coaches, who have been provisionally suspended from all ESIC member events.
The third-person view
The final version of the bug that ESIC is investigating, called “third-person view”, also came to light only recently. On April 15, Dexerto revealed that over 40 coaches had come across this version of the bug between 2017 and 2020 and explained how it added another layer of complexity to the investigation.
Triggered by reconnecting to the game server during an online match, the third-person view bug lasted one round or less. It may seem rather innocuous at a first glance, but coaches could still relay information – obtained by moving the camera – that would be outside of a player’s field of view.
There was a "3rd person" one, where you could watch your teammate from a 3rd person view and simply clear all the angles for him (if abused).
You can see an example I recorded for Valve back in 2020: https://t.co/que89Iqh0q
— Michal Slowinski (@michau9_) March 29, 2022
One of the biggest headaches for ESIC is finding out for certain whether coaches attempted to obtain information when they ran into the third-person view bug. In some of the cases reviewed by Dexerto, there appears to be clear sweeping movements of the camera; in others, there is barely any movement that suggests the coach was trying to take advantage of the situation.
This version of the bug only happened on game servers hosted by FACEIT and Gamers Club. Neither company was able to provide an explanation for this when contacted by Dexerto.
ESIC distinguishes this variant of the bug from the other two as it poses “a relatively low risk to competitive integrity” and was not triggered on purpose. However, it is still of the opinion that coaches should be sanctioned if they did not ask for the round to be paused and reconnected to the server under supervision of the admin.
“What the participants being prosecuted chose to do was remain in the bug until the end of the round,” ESIC explained. “This is unacceptable and, in the Commissioner’s view a breach of the Code of Conduct.”
ESIC has ruled that each instance of third-person bug should result in a 30-day ban – the exception being the cases when coaches had the bug for less than one round, which will be reviewed by the commission on a case-by-case basis.
Unlike the other two variants, however, the third-person bug will not result in coaches being provisionally suspended with immediate effect. ESIC said that this variant affected one coach attending the Antwerp Major, who will continue to work as normal until the conclusion of the event, after which he will to respond to the charges.
“The Commissioner takes the view that it would be unfair on the participant and would yield a disproportionate consequence impacting not only the participant but their team to provisionally suspend them at this point,” ESIC says.