WESG has been going on for some years now, and to be honest it’s hard to see why they keep investing in CSGO. While Jack Ma and his pals have poured millions of dollars into Chinese CSGO, the majority of Western pundits have done nothing but pour scorn on their efforts, normally from afar, rather than actually going to China and experiencing things for themselves.
This year though, it’s gone to another level again, with some going as far as to suggest that big teams are failing due to some element of the event itself, rather than just their own lack of proper preparation. When Fnatic were 16-0’d by AGO, the top post on Reddit about the result showed the entire team switching out their screens, which is funny, given that they were 15-0 down to Astralis on a different continent just a few weeks ago, presumably with different screens.
The problem with really laying into those who like to pop at Chinese CSGO sadly lies within China itself, or at least the collective failure to deal with the plague that infects so many games at a lower level, that being match fixing. Even at WESG, with $500,000 on the line, there was a match Pinnacle suspended all bets on after a pattern of suspicious activity flagged the chance it might have been a fix, with nary a peep from the organisers since about the issue in question.
It was reported this week on By The Numbers that a match at WESG had had all bets refunded by Pinnacle, who are currently one of the biggest bookmakers in esports, due to suspicious activity. The game was between 5POWER and ENZO, two sides from Asia, and oddly the story was very poorly reported in the West, as well as China, where one might expect a smaller degree of scrutiny.
To put it another way, ask yourself this question. If Astralis decided to compete at WESG, and took home the $500,000, would it have any effect on their legacy as a team? Even if they were to beat the same sides they did at the Major, which is possible, the record would not be as impressive, and they know that. On the other hand, it would be satisfying to see them arrive and show that excuses are just that by strolling to the final, but you cannot blame the Danes for not prioritising an event with such a murky backdrop.
If the all-powerful Chinese government takes a stance, and decides the reputation of the nation is worth protecting in CSGO, then WESG could become a far better event overnight, and maybe evolve into a true competitor for the Major. Sure, there might be teething troubles, or a dodgy hotel, but FACEIT ran a Major in one of the biggest, richest cities on earth last year, in a nation with a great history of events, and they managed to mess that up, so the idea that CN events have to go flawlessly just seems a bit unfair to say the least, or maybe even more than that if you have a suspicious mind.
Right now though, the lack of credibility is beginning to hurt the scene in Asia as a whole, and even the tournament owners can feel their investment cool off. It was done quietly, but WESG has already started to back away, reducing the record-breaking prize pool in 2019, no doubt as a reaction to the teams not attending, and fans not caring as much. CSGO has to move on now, and realise that China should be treated with respect, and China has to work to earn a reputation as a top tier destination for CSGO. Otherwise events like WESG will go away, and Chinese teams will never reach the next stage of their development without constantly travelling to find the best opponents.