Another scandal has rocked the StarCraft community, as 12 gamers were arrested in South Korea for allegedly illegally betting and match fixing some professionally played StarCraft II matches.
StarCraft, the fictional military science real-time strategy video game was developed by Blizzard Entertainment and released for Microsoft in the spring of 1998. Many industry journalists believe that StarCraft is one of the most important video games of all time, raising the bar for the creation of the real-time strategy games that followed. It is one of the all-time best-selling games for the personal computer. The sequel, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, was released to the public in 2010.
According to prosecutors, the head coach of the pro-gaming team PRIME, Park Wae-Sik, known as Gerard, was the first individual arrested. Also arrested was one of Gerard’s team members, Choi Byeong-Heon, known as YoDa. In addition, other unnamed game brokers and gangsters were taken into custody.
YoDa has been accused of accepting money by “taking dives” and deliberately losing matches. Gerrard has been charged with connecting players to brokers and receiving money from brokers. He also encouraged players to lose games in order to collect money.
According to the prosecutor’s investigation, the matches under scrutiny include five pro-level StarCraft II games that took place earlier this year.
The Korean eSports Association, KeSPA, confirmed that Gerrard and YoDo have been banned for life. Director Cho Man Soo released a statement: “Since 2010, the association has worked alongside the rest of the industry to fight against the illegal betting that has continued to threaten the foundation of e-Sports. It is extremely regrettable that a related incident has occurred again, and we apologize to all of the fans who have shown e-Sports their love and support.”
The statement further went on as follows: “Since 2013, the association has engaged regular anti-corruption education for all head coaches, coaches, and players competing in Proleague. The association also received agreements from coaching staff and players that they could be subject to measures under civil and/or criminal law should they be involved in illegal betting.”
KeSpa has promised to be “utterly uncompromising” in doling out punishments to those found to have illegally participated in gambling or fixing matches. The organization has also indicated it may sue for civil damages “depending on the circumstances.”
The StarCraft community last suffered a major cheating scandal in 2010.