After the issues Valve experienced with audio and other technical aspects of The International 8 in Canada, the first day of the CSGO Major in London was also hit by broadcast trouble. The first game of the day started well over an hour late, with host Alex ‘Machine’ Richardson filling with his desk, covering topics such as chicken and carbonara at the biggest CSGO event in UK history.
According to the official FACEIT Twitter account, the issues related to a build of the game put together specifically for the event, which will have come as a relief if it turns out to be true. The build-up to the event was dogged by accusations of cost-cutting and threadbare talent selection, with names in the scene going as far as to call out FACEIT at industry award shows for poor population of the most premium event in its history.
Admittedly, there is a degree of bitterness to some of the complaints, which have obviously come from those talking heads not being paid to talk at Twickenham, but the feeling in the community is that this is not a Major with a particularly major budget. The danger is that Valve are associated with these failures, given its role in both TI8 and London, and that wouldn’t be an entirely unfair assessment.
In terms of the play itself, there were also compromises made, with Space Soldiers being forced to open the action minus one of their starting five. Their coach stood in, and received a torrent of abuse on Twitter for having the guts to be there for his players, no doubt from a gallery of critics that have never played at a big LAN, let alone stood in at a Major.
The context for this is other major publishers talking about slowing their level of investment, with Riot in particular having taken the decision to relegate its World Finals to Incheon after losing out on its first-choice venue. At a time when esports growth is a hot topic, it is sad to see not one but two major companies taking it less seriously than might be the case, or presenting in that way at least.
When play started, the levels were, of course, excellent, save for some odd incidental music choices, but this is two in two for a company that probably needs esports more than any other. As with TI8, Valve knows that it can turn it around by the end and everything will be OK, but these are the sort of issues esports needs to start stamping out if the next steps are to be taken toward true mainstream acceptance.