Competitive gaming is serious business nowadays: with thousands of dollars in prize money and potential sponsorships on the line, there’s a lot of cash being pumped into the business of turning multiplayer games into a lucrative spectator sport. Of course, whenever money is involved, there will always be people trying to game the system, and according to MLG allegations, that’s exactly what happened during League of Legends’ Summer Championship.
Today the Major League Gaming, the association that officiates ranked LoL tournaments, made the following statement:
“MLG regrets to announce that we will not be awarding 1st or 2nd Place finishes for the Summer Championship League of Legends Event. We have determined that there was collusion between the two final teams, Curse NA and Team Dignitas. This is in clear violation of both the letter and spirit of MLG’s Official Pro Circuit Conduct Rules: “competitors may not intentionally Forfeit a Game or conspire to manipulate Rankings or Brackets.” As such, both teams have been disqualified, and no placements or prize money will be awarded.
Riot has agreed with this decision and, in accordance with their Season 2 rules on Unsportsmanlike Conduct, will not be awarding Circuit points to either team.”
The MLG went on to state that the championship prizes and circuit points will instead be awarded to the third and fourth place teams.
According to one of the teams involved, Curse NA, the MLG chose to disqualify them after they found out that their team and the opposing team agreed to play an all random, all middle match for the championship, basically setting their own rules for the match. MLG disputes this statement, saying that both teams agreed to rig their match in order to split the prize money afterwards. LoL developer Riot Games backed up the MLG, stating they agreed with the ruling completely.
A similar scandal rocked the equally competitive Starcraft scene in Korea two years ago, after it was discovered that several high ranking players had been fixing matches in order to share the prize money. In case you didn’t know, Starcraft is immensely popular in South Korea. Tournaments are televised and the game even has the same legal recognition as “real” sports like soccer or baseball, so when it was discovered that players were fixing matches, they faced genuine legal trouble for breaking gambling laws. Several players were even sentenced to some light jail time and community service. By comparison, the LoL players got off relatively light.
It’s situations like these that highlight the difficulty in turning multiplayer games into spectator sports, and it’s not a problem that I see going away soon — after all, traditional sports like boxing still have to deal with corrupt judges, bribed referees, and athletes looking to make a quick buck. Situations like this are probably even harder to eliminate in video games, where it can be difficult to tell if somebody is genuinely struggling or if they’re purposefully trying to throw a match.
Source: Major League Gaming