It never rains, but it does pour – money, in this case, into the pockets of match-fixers, as the latest arrest in the South Korean StarCraft II scene is a real heart-breaker if prosecuted. Life, who came second at this year’s WCS finals at Blizzcon, won the year before and is generally considered one of the best players in the world, has been detained by the same prosecutors as the members of Team PRIME who were implicated and found guilty last year.
One of the best strategy games ever or not, StarCraft’s not immune to corruption.
The news comes via fansite TeamLiquid, where a translation of the official Korean announcement is causing a lot of buzz and understandable anger. Word is that he’s under investigation at the very least, and governing body KeSPA have prevented him from taking part in his matches until the matter is resolved. They are expecting him to co-operate fully and will “keep their zero tolerance policy toward illegal match fixing/ gambling cases.” Meaning, y’know, he’s out if he’s guilty, nevermind how many legitimate championships he may have won.
The only thing in debate currently is whether he has been placed under actual arrest, or just brought in for questioning. Different translators are reading the wordage in different ways and, as with all non-Arabic alphabet languages, doing a one-to-one with English is proving difficult, nevermind the differences in justice systems. However, the eSports cops are definitely more interested in him than would be preferable.
The reason this is bigger news than the various spates of StarCraft match-fixing over the years is the profile of the man involved. Previously it has been lower-tier players and teams, or at worst waning superstars like sAviOr, that have been caught on the take. This is one of the best players in the world, a favourite for this season of WCS and high-tier player getting ready to play his GSL Code S qualifying matches next week after narrowly missing his place in SSL. If he’s at it – well, who isn’t?