Historical Enquiry into Spectator Bug Exploitation

On 2 September ESIC issued sanction outcomes against three coaches who utilised a bug in the CS:GO spectator mode in order to achieve an advantage (“Spectator Bug”). ESIC has since reviewed a large quantity of evidence and believes that it is in the best interest of the industry to open an inquiry into the potential exploitation of this bug as far back as 2016.

Matter Open:

August 27, 2020

Matter Status:


Matter Updates:


Last Updated:

November 29, 2023

ESIC will make a public statement relating to the ESIC Charging Three Coaches Resulting From Historical Spectator Bug Investigation at 5:00PM GMT+1, 5 May 2022.

ESIC will make further statements notifying of charges against other individuals in due course, notified in this location.

ESIC will make a public statement relating to the classification of three Spectator Bug Variants and ESIC's intended treatment of each of the variants at 5:00PM GMT+1, 5 May 2022.

ESIC will make further statements notifying of charges against individuals in due course, notified in this location.

ESIC is in the process of finalising Notices of Charge relating to the Spectator Bug.

ESIC intends to issue the Notices of Charge forming this component of the investigation to relevant participants this week.

The outcomes from appeals relating to the first spectator bug release have caused ESIC to revisit the individual cases in the second batch as well as the sanctions matrix.

It has also been far more difficult to determine a fair, proportionate and consistent sanctioning approach to what are, in the majority of these second batch of cases, very short instances of triggering the “coach bug”. This is exacerbated by the fact that, following the first batch of sanctions, Valve imposed additional consequences that ESIC now has to take into account.

Accordingly, ESIC is currently working with Valve to try and come to a conclusion that is fair to all parties before providing its next sanction update.

Below is a summary overview of the outcomes of the first part of our investigation:

- ESIC initially estimated that it would need to review 25,000 demos in order to assess the exploitation of the Spectator Bug. When accessing the demo databases of both the ESEA and HLTV, ESIC retrieved 99,650 demos (approx. 15.2TB of data);
- As of the date of this statement, ESIC has reviewed approximately 20% of the total demos available for review. However, ESIC notes that the demos already reviewed (which form the conclusions identified in this statement) likely comprise the most substantial cases of abuse.
- Importantly, only 0.1% of the total demos available for review (99,650) have, as at the date of this statement, returned a positive indication of Spectator Bug abuse.
- Upon investigation, we have identified evidence that the Spectator Bug had previously been referred to admins in various non-ESIC member tournaments as far back as 2017. ESIC is not aware of how these reports were treated by non-members as we do not have operational visibility of any actions that were taken. Accordingly, ESIC will not make any comment relating to prior reports of the Spectator Bug to tournament admins by individuals.
- As a result of our investigations to date, ESIC has issued sanctions against 37 offending parties. The details of these sanctions are found in Annexure A attached to this statement which is titled ‘Sanction Outcomes’.
- It is noted that ESIC could not ascertain, with any reasonable certainty, whether the teams related to the offending parties were complicit in the exploitation of the Spectator Bug at the time that the offences took place. As such, ESIC will not make a comment in this regard and encourages the community to refrain from speculation on this element.
- ESIC anticipates that it will only need to issue one further report at the end of October which will conclude the investigation into Spectator Bug abuse (subject to additional complications that may arise during the investigative process).

Read more: https://esic.gg/sanction-outcome/esports-integrity-commission-findings-from-investigation-into-csgo-spectator-bug-exploitation/