Overwatch Has its First Match-Fixing Scandal

Blizzard’s popular team-based shooter Overwatch had its first match-fixing scandal since the game’s launch last year.

Reported by Engadget, Korean police have charged Jin Seok-hoon and Baek Min-jeh, the player-manager, and coach of South Korea’s eSports team, Luminous Solar. The two are being charged without detention for attempting to fix a qualifying match for the second season of the APEX Overwatch league. While the two weren’t named after being officially charged by the Gyeonggi Bukbu Provincial Police Agency Cyber Bureau, a Korean eSports cable channel had already banned the player manager and coach for previously offering sponsorship to a rival team in return for forfeiting a match in February.

Overwatch has quickly become one of the fastest growing eSports titles with over 25 million players along with new updates in the form of characters and maps. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are offered in tournaments, making the threat of match fixing a serious issue. Given how largely popular the game has become, there’s no surprise that individuals would try to abuse the opportunity.

Many players in Korea make a living off of winning game tournaments, both legally and illegally. A number of people in South Korea were arrested in recent years over similar cases with other games. StarCraft 2, a major title within the eSports community has had issues with cheating since 2010 with a number of match-fixing scandals.

While eSports isn’t nearly as big in the west as it is in South Korea, it is gaining steady popularity, giving rise to its own issues. In 2012, collusion was found between the two final teams during the MLG Summer Championship for League of Legends after the teams agreed to split their winnings regardless of the outcome. The teams were disqualified and MLG issued an apology to spectators.