In 2016, the world of sports took its first steps in India.
“Sports back then meant going to the local coffee shop where you played a video game and winning 2,000 rupees (about 24 euros). And with that, you were done for the weekend,” says Nishant Patel, an entrepreneur connected to electronic games at AFK Gaming. .
However, in 2018, the influx of investment from American company Optic Gaming changed everything.
The importance of optic gaming
“It was very important for me to make sure that India was a strategic location. I thought there was huge potential there,” says Jessal Parekh, former director of global development for Optic India.
OpTic decided to focus their attention on Counter-Strike, a ‘first-person shooter’ video game with a loyal following.
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To form the new team, they organized auditions in Bangalore. Thousands of players applied, but only five were selected; Among them is a player called ‘Forsaken’.
“Though people say he is ‘suspected to have cheated’, we don’t have any proof or concrete evidence,” says his team member Sabyasachi Bose.
Despite the warning signs, the team pressed on and won India’s qualifier for the Shanghai International.
One step closer to success
At first, things looked very promising.
“We played against Vietnam and we had to be fit. I was playing a great game. I single-handedly destroyed my opponents,” says Sabyasachi.
“OpTic India was one ‘map’ away from winning,” explains CSGO2Asia’s Editor-in-Chief Nikhil Hathiramani.
“Halfway through the decisive ‘map’ we realized that the administrators had decided to pause,” explains Nikhil Hathiramani.
A pause usually occurs when a monitor is turned off, usually due to a technical problem.
But it soon became clear that something more serious was going on: ‘Parzagan’ had been caught cheating.
“He cheated while representing one of the biggest nations in the world and participating in one of the biggest tournaments in Asia,” says Prashant.
As it did?
“The guy had a special button on the side of the controller. When you press that button, the trap goes off,” explains Umez Umesh Kripalani, Director of Caster Talent.
His teammates were shocked to be disqualified from the tournament. Meanwhile, fans in India also felt betrayed.
“There was talk of beating him at the airport,” said Siddharth Nayyar, a sports entrepreneur at AFK Gaming.
“There was no other option but to disband the team,” he adds.
A call to attention
Although the incident had a negative impact, it was transformative for posterity. “We clearly realized that we didn’t have enough checks and balances,” says Nishant Patel.
As a result of the increased regulation, the sport is flourishing. “If I look back in 10 years, we will be very happy if someone pays for a train that takes 24 hours to go from Mumbai to Bengaluru,” he says.
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“Today, nothing less than 100,000 USD (about 96,560 euros, at the time of writing this article) is the incentive to compete,” concludes the esports entrepreneur at AFK Gaming.
Real crime is also committed online. Hacker:HUNTER every week next (LON:) takes a look at the true stories of hackers in the video game industry to find out if hacking can ever be a key element for good.
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