This Tuesday, a few hours before the beginning of BLAST Premier Fall 2020 Finals, the Counter-Strike Professional Players Association (CSPPA) issued a statement announcing that BLAST will not be have permission to access voice communications between players or record their screens.
On it, the CSPPA has claimed that despite multiple tries, they were unable to reach an agreement between the players and the tournament organizer.
According to the player association, while ‘the players fully appreciate the need for measures to be taken in order to safeguard the integrity of the game”, these recordings had too big of an impact on PC performance compared to other measures.
The association also claims that the use and storage of the team communications used was largely unregulated and unknown to the players.
And while in-game communications have been used before by BLAST in their transmissions, as part of a short desk segment highlighting a crucial moment in a particular round, rumours that members of the production could be sharing this sensitive data to other teams quickly spread.
Team Vitality and Mousesports delayed their first match in BLAST Premier Fall as an act of protest. Chris ‘chrisJ’ de Jong, member of the CSPPA Board and player for Mousesports, quickly took his criticism to Twitter, defending that “BLAST forced our hand”.
BLAST answered by releasing a short statement during their stream, with Nicolas Estrup, Director of Product & Experience, affirming that the Danish tournament organizer will continue to search for ways to bring the viewers closer to the players.
Last week, the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) had announced its intention to ‘include live video feeds from the rooms in which the teams are playing, with as much of the room and the participants covered by video as logistics and practicality allows’, in an effort to combat the recent allegations of stream-sniping and to add more transparency to the competitive scene.
It would be the responsability of tournament organizers associated to ESIC, such as BLAST, to record and to store this data for a minimum of 90 days.
While this topic is bound to unravel further discussion in the future: casters, talent and players took their opinions to social media. Some have wondered the validity of the protests. Others have applauded the stance made by the players association.
Erik ‘fl0m’ Flom, currently playing for Mythic, used the moment to criticize the CSPPA, citing their inaction when ESL, one of the most renown tournament organizers for CS:GO, decided to largely reduce the number of teams featured in its Pro League, causing a big disruption on the North American scene.