Cheating with severe consequences is most commonly associated with academia, but this past weekend we were reminded that cheating has effects on reputation and revenue in various factions of society all the same.

Last weekend multiple top players from pro teams for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive were handed VAC (Valve Anti-Cheat) bans from the game as a cheating scandal was unearthed. The players in question were able to maneuver around Valve’s anti-cheating software and use third party tools to enhance the players’ aim in the game, giving them a serious competitive advantage in the process.

The cheating done by professional players creates an uneven playing field and in some cases, diminishes the odds of becoming a professional gamer. This cheating scandal could also have a serious impact on the monetary aspects of the professional gaming world. Pro gamers are sponsored, win large sums of money at tournaments and are often paid to be part of a professional team. When a player is caught cheating, their entire gaming career is put into question, and all of the funding going along with it. This could result in fines and claims to retrieve the gamers’ winnings. Not only this, but if top teams such as Titan and Epsilon have players who are accused of cheating, their name will be tainted and they will most likely lose funding and stature.

The quest to find and ban all cheaters from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, ‘Operation VACation,’ is one of the biggest in the history of eSports. With this cheating scandal being one of the largest in recent years for the video game industry, we begin to wonder how much this will permanently change the competitive gaming scene.

Articles to read more on CS:GO and Operation VACation:

http://www.mweb.co.za/games/ViewNewsArticle/tabid/2549/Article/16798/Counter-Strike-world-rocked-by-professional-players-cheating-scandal.aspx

http://kotaku.com/top-counter-strike-players-caught-in-big-cheating-scand-1662810816

http://www.redbull.com/en/esports/stories/1331691928609/counter-strike-hacker-spotting-guide