Corruption continues to plague the South Korean esports scene, as the outcome of the first-ever Overwatch match fixing scandal hopes to set a bold example.
Based on an investigation led by OGN (translated by ESPN), manager Jin Seok-hoon and coach Baek Min-jeh of Luminous Solar have been arrested by the Gyeonggi Bukbu Provincial Police Agency Cyber Bureau for interference with business.
Both had already received lifetime bans from the regional esports organization back in February, when it was discovered that the team’s management had attempted to qualify for the Overwatch APEX Challenger Season 2 by persuading UnLimited to throw the game. In return for the loss, the opponents were guaranteed a sponsorship deal. The two individuals also allegedly used a fake doctor’s certificate to add an illegal substitute for the match.
Luminous Solar did end up winning, but was disqualified from the tournament after its involvement with Overwatch match fixing was discovered. It is unclear if the entire roster of UnLimited was part of the collusion. At present, only Choi Yoon-soo has been found guilty and banned for the entire season. As for the roster of Luminous Solar, the players can only participate in future events under a different team.
Match fixing is not new to the South Korean esports scene, having set its roots as far back as the StarCraft: Brood War era. However, this is the first time that Overwatch has been involved. While the quick investigation on the part of OGN is commendable. It is unlikely to curb others from dipping their blackened fingers in the cesspool of corruption.
For the time being, the lifetime bans and arrests serve as a stern warning to other teams looking to make a quick profit off of throwing matches. Those found guilty will have their esports careers ended. Let us hope that we won’t have to hear about similar incidences any time soon.