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GetGosu got up and WentGosu
Written by Jock   
Monday, 13 June 2011

If competitive FPS gaming isn't dead in North America, then it is in palliative care.

BRINK has been a disappointment. Numbers have been falling sharply and I've been playing against more bots than human players lately.

CoD:BO's? Don't even ask.

About the only interesting action lately has been in CoD4. Check out National ESL's CoD4 League. If NESL gets the numbers they are looking for, it will mark the fourth straight year of competitive CoD4 (three years of Promod).

With NESL being a small ray of sunshine, what happened to GetGosu.com is more typical of the state of competitive FPS. GetGosu.com was a CS competitive league that was set to branch into CoD. This email from the owner is shocking in its frankness and looks like it was written candidly and apparently somewhat emotionally. 

Dear Jock,

Where Did GetGosu Go?

On Memorial Day Weekend, GetGosu hosted (attempted to host) a CounterStrike Source Tournament with a $500 prize pool.  In the hours leading up to the start of the tournament, website traffic spiked  and our servers were overloaded forcing us to abort the tournament.  The overload was not caused by any kind of malicious DDOS attack or by a lack of bandwidth; it was admittedly caused by poor design in a small part of the software.  More or less, the problem was that: in order to load a page with many players on it, things were getting looked up in the database that were looking up other things in the database that were looking up other things in the database...and with 300+ players registered for the tournament (and many more attempting to register but not being able to) the chain of database look ups created a giant outward expanding tree of lookups causing the site to crawl to a halt.  We can fix the problem that slowed the site down, but, we have a deeper concerns on our minds that cast doubt on whether it is worth the effort at this time:

We've determined that Counter Strike, and really any other FPS run on the PC, cannot achieve a high level of success as an online eSport, because there is too much cheating and no way to stop it. 
With money on-the-line in these tournaments, we wanted to catch the cheaters quickly and with 100% accuracy, but that is simply not possible.  Counter Strike is a great game and we wanted to support the community, but, cheaters unfortunately ruin the fun, especially with money on the line, and when you practically have everyone thinking everyone else cheats it doesn't make for a very good community.

We think the answer is to start supporting games that you literally cannot cheat at.
This means we are most definitely dropping support for all of our current games (CS, CSS, TF2).  When we have a game that you cannot cheat at we will send you another email to let you know about it, if you don't like the looks of it then alright, if it looks like it might be fun then please give the new game a shot.    


What this means for paying players:

Your Money: If you deposited or won any money at Getgosu and had a balance remaining in your account, a check is being mailed to you. 

Taxes:  For those non-USA residents that won money at GetGosu, you will receive a tax form at the end of the year; you have already paid taxes on your winnings to the US government so this form will only serve to help you (to avoid getting taxed on your winnings yet again by your home country).

Zero USA residents earned enough winnings to require us to send you or the US government a tax form reporting your winnings.

And Thanks Again

This has been a learning experience for our staff and founders and we thank the community for that.  We helped many early-adopting and honest players make some cash  - so we're proud of that too, it was our goal all along.

The most important lesson we learned is how to adapt.  This project has taken many forms over the time it has been in development.  We listened to you and made changes to make the product better.  And now, sadly, we've realized that Counter-Strike is not suited for online cash play.  There are leagues and groups doing this now and there will likely be more that attempt it in the future - but the community is simply too full of cheaters to make the ventures worthwhile.

This is why we are adapting once more - as we close the doors on this project.

 Sincerely,

Jordan "carnator" Brock

President of Hit the Sticks, LLC

 

The comment that "any other FPS run on the PC, cannot achieve a high level of success as an online eSport, because there is too much cheating and no way to stop it.", will certainly resonate with competitive players.
 
Brock used to quote the following equation:
"The world's best games + humanity's competitive nature + loads of cash to be won + the convenience of playing from the comfort of your own home whenever you want = a good business venture."
He forgot to add the term " + wallhack" in the equation and GetGosu did not seem to have the resources needed to prevent that term from ruining their tournaments.
 
Having said that, I am not sure I agree with Brock's comments completely. Large tournament organizers like NESL and CEVO have the money to pay for sophisticated anti-cheat software that look for game hooks. A/C systems aside, the best way to look for cheats continues to be spectating someone's first person POV game recordings. Of course, not only do you need the recorded game files themselves, you need the experienced people to review them (assuming the game even supports recording).
 
Not all games have the technical means to provide first person spectate recorded files. The CoD franchise, for example, does. Sadly, CoD's devs don't see competitive eSports as a big deal...though suddenly they've taken an interest now that they think they can make money from it (*cough* CoDELite *cough*). 

DICE should pay attention. No record function? No First person POV? No competitive game. Simple as that. But I think BF3's devs are listening. Given how many things DICE is getting right in BF3, look for Battlerecorder and first person POV in BF3.

 
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