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ESL Trying Other Means to Reduce Crowd Noise, Won’t Consider Soundproof Booths

Despite the community and professional players requesting soundproof booths for the stage, Electronic Sports League (ESL) will not budge from its stance.

Speaking with Dot Esports, the global tournament organizer stated that it has a number of methods and technology to tackle the issue of crowd ghosting. Different audio simulations of a live tournament are conducted before each event to test the noise-suppression headsets used by players on the stage. ESL wants to provide the “best possible playing environment” by “balancing intelligible, clear team speech” and “eliminating as much unwanted noise as possible.”

This brings us to the long-requested presence of soundproof booths, which would relinquish the need of any industrious testing. The company, however, does not consider soundproof booths as a viable option because it believes that they will negatively effect the esports atmosphere inside the venue.

“Soundproof booths do offer a solution for sound damping, but this in turn also dampens the energy of a LAN tournament and disconnects the players from the crowd, which is a critical dynamic for an engaging and exciting high-level sporting event,” said the company. “The feedback from players at events like IEM Katowice is testament to our current solution going in the right direction.”

The call for soundproof booths was heard once again when the crowd showed bias this past weekend during the finals of the fifth season of the ESL Pro League. North, which had been vocal about crushing G2 Esports, was decimated. The over confidence of the former sparked the crowd to give away their positions and routes by shouting between rounds. G2 Esports used the information; though, it was already dominating the competition. Nonetheless, it still brought the issue of crowd ghosting back into the highlight.

It is not just ESL, other tournament organizers have also shared opinions that the players need to be there in the open with the crowd. Cordoning them off inside a booth will disconnect them from the spectators. Players already use noise-cancellation headphones that curb the sound of the excited crowd. However, it does not work all the time. According to ESL, players are advised to tell the administrator if they are able to hear the crowd giving away their positions. The problem is that, players are mostly focused on their match and usually report the problem afterwards.