Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has become, alongside League of Legends, one of the biggest esports in the world.
Professional players compete on an almost daily basis for the riches that the tournaments can offer, but once the spotlight goes away several players experience the dark side of the world wide web.
– One day they want to marry you, the next day they have lost skins and want to kill you, a star in the CS:GO professional scene tells Aftonbladet Esport.
In a short, and not very scientific survey, conducted by Aftonbladet Esport it was found that 9 out of 13 professional players have received death threats due to their profession. For some, the intrusions have become an almost daily occurrence in their everyday life.
Though the experience vary from player to player, the common thread when asked what it could be attributed to is betting.
– It has happened that people have stalked me and I’ve received hate, but if I really think about it I have to say that I don’t know if it’s their fault. They seem to believe that skins are a matter of life and death, they have persuaded themselves that it’s really important and if you look at it from that perspective you could make an argument for understanding their reaction. In the past I viewed the hatred with huge negativity, but nowadays I think I understand their reasoning, former major winner and now Winterfox player, Jonatan ”Devilwalk” Lundberg says to Aftonbladet Esport and adds:
– Of course the phenomenon is horribly wrong.
Received death threats on Christmas eve
The influx of skins in CS:GO have by many been deemed as the main cause of the esports rise to prominence, both in terms of the player pool and the success as a broadcasted esport. During the last major in Cologne, the concurrent amount of viewers elevated way beyond one million.
The survey shows that all players who were asked had experienced hatred following loses. However, the avalanche of loathing from the community is not limited to times when a team have been defeated. The hate can also be ventilated when a squad stands victorious.
– In late 2014 we won against Mousesports in a grand final of an online tournament. It was the day before Christmas, and while I was celebrating the holiday the day after I received at least 10 actual death threats. The reason was a Youtube video proclaiming I was using an aimlock. Presumably those people had all bet on them to win the game, Alexander ”SKYTTEN” Carlsson, who recently departed from Team Kinguin, says to Aftonbladet Esport.
In a recent interview with Aftonbladet Esport, former Titan star Mathieu ‘Maniac’ Quiquerez reminisced on the spring of 2015, during which his performance was under scrutiny by a hostile and very vocal part of the CS:GO community.
– When you are the target of hate, a part of you just puts it aside like you have to do, and that is true for football or tennis players when they underperform as well and you have to be ready for it to be able to handle it. But even if you try to not care about it, there is always a part of you that becomes a bit affected by it. And I was affected by it because I’m an emotional person. I like to have a good relationship with most people if I can. At the same time it made me harder – tougher, and I stopped to care about the hate and I was able to play without opening the forums where people were talking shit about me. It was a human challenge to be able to handle it.
Betting site force them self into broadcasts
The professional players that Aftonbladet Esport have been in contact with reiterate Maniacs view. The majority have been forced to just let it slide, turn the other cheek and ignore the ever growing amount of disdain coming their way from a small portion of a community who in most cases cherish the competition.
But the fact still remains, 9 of 13 players asked in our not so scientific survey have received death threats, an action deemed severe in most – if not all – countries of the world.
According to two tournament organizers, the betting site CSGOLounge force the production crew behind said tournaments to showreel a commercial for the site in order for the games of those tourneys to be open for CSGOLounge consumers to bet on. The tournament organizers see a steep decline in viewership if their games is not up on CSGOLounge.
Some of the professional players argue that most of the hatred directed at them stem from skins and betting. At the same time, some of them credit the betting industry for the rise of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
– You always receive messages from people who have lost their skins, which sucks to be honest. But you can’t just look at the negative side of it, betting have also made CS:GO much bigger than it used to be. However, I think that only people older than 18 should be allowed to bet, one star on the european scene concludes.
Aftonbladet Esport have reached out to CSGOLounge, the betting site have yet to answer our questions.