ESIC Announces Details Of Incoming Ban Wave Over Spectator Bug Abuse


ESIC to Issue 100 Sanctions Over CS:GO Spectator Bug, Gives Details of Ban Wave

ESIC is about to roll out a new set of bans.

Aditya Singh Rawat
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The ESIC has announced details of an incoming ban wave related to the spectator bug investigation and is preparing to hand out sanctions to 97 CS:GO coaches.
Across the course of the investigation, ever since the initial report came out in September 2020, the ESIC has identified two more variants of the spectator bug.
The ESIC has provided the description of all three variants and how the CS:GO coaches will be sanctioned based on a particular variants abuse.

Almost two years after the initial investigation into the spectator bug abuse scandal which led to sanctions being imposed against 37 CS:GO coaches, the ESIC (Esports Integrity Commission) is ready to impose almost 100 more sanctions against various participants.

The investigation has carried through at a snail's pace but the outcome seems to be solid as the ESIC has discovered more variants of the spectator bug, third person and free roam, while also handing three CS:GO coaches provisional suspension from attending the upcoming PGL Antwerp Major 2022.

Here is the ESIC's current stance on all variants of the spectator bugs, and what sanctions it intends to impose on all the participants, as it prepares to roll out the final verdict soon.

ESIC announces incoming ban wave: About to impose sanctions against 97 CS:GO coaches

The ESIC has come forward with an official announcement giving clear details of what it has been up to in the two years since the initial report came out in September 2020.

Going over 99,650 video demos which equates to about 15.2 TB of data, the ESIC was able to find out two more variants of the spectator bug. Here is the complete information on the 'Spectator Bug Variants',

  • Static Spectator Bug

    This is the most basic variant of the spectator bug which places a coach in a random position on the map with completely free control around their viewpoint.

    The ESIC Commissioner categorizes it as, “Moderate to high level of competitive integrity risk". Along with the 37 coaches that were charged with sanctions for abusing this particular variant before, 47 more participants have been found to have been affected by it.

    This variant of the spectator bug has been found to have been triggered for a total of 1,311 rounds across 98 matches.

    Punishments will continue to be handed out on the basis of the 'Sanctions Matrix' that had been created by the ESIC in the case of the static variant.

  • Free-Roam Spectator Bug

    This variant enabled the user to fly around the entire map at the complete control of the user, making it more akin to a cheat like a map or wall hack than a bug.

    "Utilising the Free Roam variant intentionally can reasonably be said to have been engaging in a behaviour that was cheating or attempting to cheat in order to win a game or match," states the ESIC Commissioner.

    This variant currently affects three participants who will not be sanctioned based on the 'Sanctions Matrix'. Instead, they will be subjected to a sanction determined by section 2.4.4 and 2.4.5 of the Code of Conduct (Cheating Offences) and may carry a ban of up to 24 months.

  • Third-Person Spectator Bug

    This variant of the bug allowed the participant to observe the game from a locked third-person point of view, latching on to any one of the team’s players while also allowing the participant to cycle between the players. It also allowed the participant to move in a 360 degree range of motion, further manipulating their vision.

    The trigger of this particular variant seems to have been a server software issue on two particular CS:GO tournament platforms (FACEIT and Gamers Club, according to Dexerto).

    The ESIC Commissioner categorizes it as, “relatively low risk to competitive integrity," because the bug was always triggered automatically for just one round in every case observed by the ESIC, following which it automatically resolved itself.

    This bug occurred a total of 97 times, due to which the ESIC does not find it appropriate to apply sanctions based off 'Sanctions Matrix'. Instead, for every bugged round, participants who did not deal with this variant of the bug in a proper manner will be handed a 30-day ban. Those affected by the bug for less than one round, these will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

4 CS:GO coaches participating in the Antwerp Major to be handed sanctions by ESIC

Coming to the PGL Antwerp Major 2022, four unnamed CS:GO coaches will be handed sanctions by the ESIC based on the above reasoning. One of the four coaches was affected by the third-person variant of the spectator bug and will not be handed a 'provisional suspension'.

However, the three other coaches have been handed a provisional suspension from attending the upcoming CS:GO Major as they were "involved in distinctly more serious variants".

A thing to note here is that former Cloud9 coach Soham "valens" Chowdhury had encountered the free roam variant of the spectator bug during a match against Team Liquid in October 2017. Imperial Esports' CS:GO coach Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu had also experienced the same spectator bug in 2018 while coaching Heroic, according to a report by Jaxon.

Valens encountering the free roam variant of the spectator bug

It remains to be seen which three coaches are going to miss out on the Antwerp Major and how this could impact their team's performance at the Valve-sponsored tournament.

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Aditya is the in-house CS:GO writer at AFK Gaming. While his understanding of the esports space is not restricted by geographical borders, his current focus lies in the Asian region. Understands and follows almost all major esport titles.