What is cheating in Esports and how is it changing the game entirely?

The 2019 Dota 2 International event reached a record-breaking prize pot of over $30 million. With so much money available to be made from one Esports tournament, there are bound to be those that are looking to cheat to win.

Esports competition
There is a lot to be played for during Esports competitions. Photo: Pexels

Just like any sport, there are different ways that players can unjustly attempt to win. These gamers often use software to give them an advantage over their opponents.

In many first-person shooters, these players can make themselves immune to headshots or gain more ammo than their opponents. Meanwhile, they can also use online attacks to give their opponent a handicap. For example, those on the opposite team could randomly start to lag.

These tactics are nothing new and have been common in games such as Counter-Strike for decades. However, with big money now on the cards, moves such as these are even more controversial.

Fortnite quickly became one of the most popular games to compete in. Photo: Whelsko via Flickr

Caught in the action

Polygon reports that a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitor was caught cheating with this method in 2018.

Nikhil “forsaken” Kumawat was believed to be using an aimbot program to lock onto opponents. An administrator examined Kumawat’s terminal at the $100,000 tournament and witnessed foul play occurring.

Subsequently, he was disqualified from the event and his team was totally disbanded. This wasn’t the first time that the player got into trouble with cheating. In 2017 he received a six-month ban from competing in the league for obtaining a Valve Anti-Cheat ban.

With cases like this propping up all over the world, tournament officials are turning to software to help deal with the cheating. The Esports Observer shares that analytic tools can help examine replay data to spot unusual activity.

Dota 2
Dota 2 offers the most prize money than any other Esports game. Photo: Sergey Galyonkin via Flickr

Just like traditional sports

As the platform is now bigger, the stakes are much higher. This has caused other forms of cheating to be on the rise. Esports competitors spend hours upon hours in front of a screen each day. Additionally, they have to make sure their concentration levels are at the maximum and that they have full energy.

Therefore, some gamers are turning to performance-enhancing drugs to give themselves an edge over their opponent. Just like those in more physical sports, these players are subject to doping tests.

Furthermore, with the money in mind, match-fixing is an aspect that has to be dealt with. Here, partakers may lose intentionally or purposely skew the result of the game so that they receive a cut of a bet.

FIFA games are so popular that their competitions are televised on sports channels such as Sky Sports. Photo: BagoGames via Flickr

Preventative measures

The Electronic Sports League (ESL) also cracks down on the latest cheats with extensive research and much like anti-virus companies, it creates similar codes to reverse engineer them. This is how the league can prevent scenarios such as Wallhacking from occurring. A Wallhacking makes solid surfaces transparent for the cheater.

Altogether, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, ESL and other institutions are continuing to implement preventative measures to reduce the chance of cheating. However, if it does happen, groups have set legislation to punish the cheater.

ESL has implemented a Code of Conduct (for cheating to win), an Anti-Corruption Code (for match-fixing), and an Anti-Doping Policy. The group has to refer to this legislation to hand out the right penalty.

What are your thoughts on how Esport competitors cheat and how they are dealt with? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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