First streamer scandal ruined Valve’s reputation, still causing millions of euros in losses and three years of bogus litigation – Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

The rules of Counter-Strike have changed forever after the big controversy that happened seven years ago

Although there are exceptions, great streamers don’t play video games. The brightest recent events are inspired by football or boxing. They are deliberately based on universal phenomena to try and arouse interest in a wider audience. But this has not always been the case: just a few years ago, content creation on the web was always associated with the most popular video games. Streamers were divided into categories based on whether they engaged in Counter Strike, League of Legends, World of Warcraft or whatever his favorite name might be. It was good for companies that enjoyed a giant free marketing campaign. HoweverThis, too, can have dire consequences.. If you don’t believe me, you can ask Valve.

Counter-Strike was unexpected protagonist of the first major scandal involving content creators. The situation, which greatly damaged the image of the video game, accused of being “a casino”, forced Valve to take historic measures that are still in effect. We can understand the seriousness of the situation by considering the consequences of the facts: there was a trial of twitch which lasted three years and even the FTC intervenedthe same company that oversees multi-billion dollar purchases such as possible merger between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.

The first major scandal with streamers occurred through the “fault” of Valve

The reason Valve was involved in this situation is the same as in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2 or Team Fortress 2 are one of the most profitable games of all time. These three names have the peculiarity that they most of the obtained cosmetics can be sold. Players can list them for sale on the Community Market or directly share them with other users interested in said products. In the case of Counter-Strike, there were direct sales (one player sells their cosmetics to another for real money and without going through Valve’s systems), which reached a value of over half a million dollars.

There was a serious vulnerability in Valve’s system, and some users did not hesitate to exploit it.

Users learned that There was a big vulnerability in the Valve system. If skins could be exchanged directly between players, then nothing interfered with them, except for the Terms of Service, which the company did not apply in time. create your own external platforms for the distribution of cosmetics. Thus, two types of web pages began to be created. On the one hand, online casinos appeared, where they paid with Counter-Strike skins, and on the other sites specializing in opening loot boxes. The latter offered the opportunity to open boxes online in exchange for real money and convinced players in a very simple way: the rewards were much more generous than in official loot boxes.

Drakemoon has been one of the most successful pages of its kind (YouTube screenshot, m0E TV).

On the table, we have the first chunk of the task, but there are a few more. The main thing is that Counter-Strike content creators have become indispensable partners for such platforms.. These were websites with no reputation whatsoever, and besides, they were paid very generously for advertising. So many streamers and youtubers started a partnership that seemed to be beneficial for both. The page gained credibility and fame in the form of viral videos, when the creators received large rewards, and the streamer earned a very good amount for sponsorship in a time when shooting video or direct was not so profitable.

Content creators stopped working with external pages and created their own business.

The creators of these web pages have unknowingly created their own trap. Just like they realized the problems in the Valve system, some content creators came to the obvious conclusion. Domains that specialize in betting or opening Counter-Strike boxes work because streamers or YouTubers stand up for them and guarantee their safety. They were not a minor part of the success of these pages, if not an essential one. This led them to walk a path that in some cases came very close to jail time.

FTC and Twitch against streamers

The idea was simple, stupid and the worst example of the so-called “shark mentality” you’ve ever seen. Some content creators have started creating their own box opening pages or online casinos based on Counter-Strike skins. The problem, however, was the decision they made afterwards. In your videos or live broadcasts promoted web pages that they themselves created. The situation was proven beyond reasonable doubt, at least in the case of Trevor “TmarTn” Martin and Thomas “Syndicate” Cassell, two great content creators at the time.

CS:GO skins have been the subject of several controversial episodes as they can be converted into real money very easily.

They had to face FTC because they had a significant percentage of ownership of the already liquidated CSGO Lotto website and promoted it in their videos. “Consumers need to know when a social media influencer is being paid or has any other tangible connection to the brands they are promoting (…) This is the first ever FTC action against influencers and should send a message about how to make these connections. understandable and communicated to consumers so they can make informed purchasing decisions,” they explained.

Since the case with such characteristics was considered for the first time, the situation was resolved by official notification and the creation of new rules regulate advertising campaigns to create content on the Internet. However, the third major involved in this plot was not so fortunate. James ‘PhantomL0rd’ Varga He was one of the top five content creators on Twitch (15,000 viewers per stream) and was in a situation that would presumably be identical to that of the aforementioned TmarTn and Syndicate. The difference in your case is that Twitch decided to ban him permanently when a scandal erupted in 2016..

PhantomL0rd sold the court’s decision as a win, but none of his claims were granted.

Twitch took PhantomL0rd’s past into account when making the decision, as streaming has repeatedly violated the platform’s rules. The situation led to a major standoff between the content creator and the company. James Varga brought them to court in 2018, starting a lawsuit that was not completed until 2021.. He proclaimed his victory in every way, posting a symbolic photo in the Twitch office on social networks. However, the reality was far from what he describes.

Thus, PhantomL0rd celebrated his “victory” over Twitch.

Of the seven motions included in the findings of his suit, none were accepted in their entirety.. The judge in the case also reduced the compensation to just over €20,000 of the millions originally requested, and accused the creator of lying several times during the trial. The reality is that Twitch was only accused of procedural violations in terminating the contract. Also, his attitude towards the CSGO Shuffle betting page was not appreciated. which he allegedly controlled. The jury did not accept Twitch’s counterclaim because “the image of the platform does not depend on Mr. Varga’s statements”, but considered it proven that the creator “deliberately violated the terms of service” and “made false statements.” by PC Gamer.

Valve did not foresee the coming problem and did not act with the readiness that the situation demanded. when online casinos started to spread. I later changed the player-to-player weapon exchange policy and sent over 20 cease and desist emails to offending pages. The situation that caused a strong drop in prices for skins. However, almost seven years after the scandal, the situation remains problematic. Although the company bans the players, because of which they lose thousands of dollars, unregulated betting sites outside of Counter-Strike developers still exist. Fortunately they much less used than in the past.

in 3D games | A streamer receives one of the largest donations in Twitch history through a Counter Strike trade..

in 3D games | He hadn’t played Counter-Strike for eight years, but when he returned, he found that he had half a million dollars in his Steam account..

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