Two Booked Without Detention in South Korea over Overwatch Match-Fixing Scandal
The eSports scene of Blizzard’s massively popular Overwatch just got rocked with its first match-fixing scandal. ESPN reports via Inven that the player manager and coach of Luminous Solar have been booked without detention in South Korea after the team has been found to qualify for the OGN Overwatch Apex Challenger Season 2 through match fixing. The duo came under fire earlier this year for previously offering money to a rival team to throw a match in February. For the latest offence, they’ve been served with a criminal charge for interference with business, and also lifetime bans from OGN too.
The match where all this went down was against UnLimited, who allegedly threw the match in return for sponsorship. Besides that, the two staff members also allegedly used a fraudulent doctor’s certificate to get a last-minute substitute for Luminous’ match. The UnLimited player who involved with this deal also received a ban from the next season of OGN Overwatch APEX Challenger as well.
While eSports is still on the rise in the West, it is an undeniable giant in South Korea’s culture. Kotaku comments on this rise of match-fixing on eSports scene, by noting that a player made seven times as much money throwing two games than winning the entire tournament. The article continues, saying that it’s typically the smaller matches in a tournament while the big matches seemed to be clean. Furthermore, they stress how these eSports players are often young and easily susceptible to external pressure to fold.
Another Blizzard title, StarCraft 2, a major title within the eSports community, has long struggled with this murky underground of match-fixing. In 2015, South Korea authorities arrested nine people for fixing professional StarCraft 2 matches. Even its predecessor, StarCraft Brood War had its controversy with match-fixing scandals as early back as 2010.
Hopefully, the hefty charge against the Solar Luminous duo will serve to deter any more scandals for the Overwatch eSports scene in the future.