Should Valve ban players for life?

After banning players for match fixing in the beginning of 2015, Valve has recently confirmed that these bans, including former United StatesiBuyPower and FranceEpsilon players, are permanent, leaving the CS:GO community to discuss whether a lifetime ban is the correct way to punish the players involved in the case. 

A history lesson

The most famous match fixing scandal happened back in August of 2014 when two North American squads went head to head in the 5th Season of the CEVO Professional League. Those two teams were iBuyPower and United iBP, one of the best NA teams at the time, were heavily favored to win the match, but instead they lost in a shocking 16-4 fashion. A couple of days after the match, popular eSports journalist Richard Lewis published an article that contained a steam conversation between United StatesShahzeb "ShahZam" Khan, who at the time wrote articles for, and an unnammed source. These screenshots showed that ShahZam was confident that Netcode would win, so confident that he placed a bet of over $110 dollars on the team, which would normally be considered a high risk bet.
A lot of people overlooked the article, and it wasn’t until in early January of 2015 that Richard Lewis published another article with more conclusive evidence confirming that the match in question was indeed fixed. The article provided screenshots from an online forum showing text messages between United StatesDerek "dboorN" Boorn’s former girlfriend and himself, where Boorn admits he knew the game was fixed and he was instructed by iBP players to bet on NetcodeGuides. After being confronted with this evidence, Valve announced  that they would ban the players in question. 
This wasn’t the only case of match fixing. A month after Valve’s ban on 7 NA players, another case of match fixing occurred, this time for the ESL One Katowice qualifiers, and players from Epsilon, Polandex-ESC Gaming and GermanyWinneR were banned in the aftermath. 
Richard Lewis exposed the NA match fixing scandal. Picture by

Setting a precedent 

The lifetime bans, which have now been confirmed by Valve, are their way of making sure that match fixing isn’t an issue in professional Counter-Strike. As CS:GO continues its rapid growth and more money starts flowing into the scene, a lifetime ban means that players who are tempted to throw a match for skins should consider what they can potentially lose. No one wants to jeopardize the prospect of a career in eSports because of some in-games skins; it’s just not worth it. 
Even though match fixing had occurred before the iBuyPower vs incident, it was the first time that evidence of it surfaced, meaning that the players involved in the game were essentially the unfornate sacrificial lambs.
Team iBP celebrating. Picture by

Is a lifetime ban fair?

Everyone deserves a second chance, or at least that’s what are taught to believe while growing up, but in this case there will no be second chances for the players involved. An argument can be made that a lifetime ban is a fair punishment for a player or players who knowingly throw an official game to their own profit, but the more you look at it, the more you begin to realize the repercussions of such a punishment. The players involved potentially lost out on a long and successful career and had to find other ways to make ends meet, with most beginning a streaming career. 
On the other hand, the lifetime ban for match fixers is a more severe punishment than those leveled against a player that uses cheats. There are a multitude of cases of cheating in online tournaments, tournaments that are similar to the one in which the iBP vs NetcodeGuides match took place, and in most cases, the players who are caught cheating are banned from these tournaments for a duration that varies between 1 and 3 years. Cheating is a severe offense, arguably more severe than match fixing, and if Valve bans a player for life because he fixed one match, then they should do the same for players who cheat in one or multiple matches.
swag was one of the players involved in the NA match fixing scandal. Picture by

The consequences of the bans

If we take a look at the players who were involved in the North American match fixing scandal, they were among the best in NA. Players like United StatesSam "DaZeD" Marine or United StatesBraxton "swag" Pierce, for example, were seen as the players that could carry the NA scene to new heights as North America tried to overthrow Europe’s domination of the Counter-Strike scene. After the bans, the NA scene never quite bounced back, and Europe’s domination continues with NA teams unable to change that. If this trend continues, the big North American teams may resort to importing talent from Europe, as was recently the case with Team Liquid picking up UkraineAleksandr "s1mple" Kostylev, since the team felt that no one on the NA scene was good enough to fill the empty slot. The more this happens, the more likely it is that upcoming players in America will stop trying to improve, as they will feel that they won’t be able to outshine European players, ultimately leading to a lack of North American stars.
Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostylev. Picture by
AuthoriamshockWave Date 8 January 2016, 02:13 Views8967 Comments0
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