While Singapore may have secured its first esports gold medal at the Games hosted by Cambodia on Thursday (11 May), it was not without some controversy.
Indonesia, who were playing Singapore during the gold medal match, called for a technical pause after being down 4-10 in the second set, claiming that the Singapore squad was abusing a bug to gain an unfair advantage.
The pause was not resumed and Indonesia eventually forfeited a rematch scheduled for the morning, though both Singapore and Indonesia were awarded a joint-gold for the event after the latter filed another dispute.
"During the match, the Singaporean National Team was discovered exploiting a certain bug in the game, called a camera agent cypher, which provided unfair advantage by exposing the movements of the Indonesian National Team among others. This bug was used three times at the Split Map, going against both the Technical Handbook and the rules mutually agreed upon at the technical meeting," said Reyner Evan Yokohadinata, a spokesperson for PBESI, the Esports Federation of Indonesia, in a statement to Yahoo Southeast Asia.
"We at PBESI, the Esports Federation of Indonesia, consider this act of cheating equivalent to doping and should be defined as digital doping. We must remember that esports still needs to gain world recognition. The values of sportsmanship, fairness, and integrity are important factors that must be agreed upon and implemented by esports players around the world. Therefore, our stance is firm: We oppose all actions against sportsmanship, fairness, and integrity."
The Singapore Esports Association (SGEA), however, disputed the claims made when Yahoo reached out for comment.
"As far as we (and most of the community are concerned), Singapore has done no intentional foul, the camera positions were not in the ban list or technical hand book so it's wrong to say so," said Kelvin Tan, SGEA's Secretary General.
Yahoo also reached out to Riot Games, the publisher of VALORANT and organisers of the VALORANT Champions Tour, VALORANT's top tier tournament, who congratulated both teams, and stated that it was not involved in the decisions and rulings made at the SEA Games 2023.
Indonesia forfeited match over 'unfair decision', but later awarded joint-gold after dispute
The bug in question is the placement of the VALORANT Agent Cypher's camera ability, which allows a player to view the other team's location remotely.
Indonesia had flagged Singapore's placement of the camera as illegal, claiming that they were told by the admin that these positions were not allowed.
According to Tidus "STYRON" Goh on his TwitLonger, the Singapore squad had agreed to receive a penalty despite having checked the rulebook and exploit list and found no issues with the placement.
Despite waiting till 4.30am in the morning, Singapore's squad agreed to return for an 8am match and starting over from 5-5.
we read the rules, we obeyed every TO decision to rollback or play on, we waited and we are still labeled cheaters, what a way to take away every honour the medal carries
— ENGM STYRON (@STYR0N) May 11, 2023
However, Indonesia then forfeited the grand final and called it an "unfair decision".
It later turned out despite waiting till 11am to receive the medals, Indonesia continued to dispute the decision, before being awarded joint gold medals by the organisers.
According to STYRON, the Singapore squad were told they had two choices: accept the decision or be stuck in Cambodia for another week to await the results of the dispute as they had no other flights back to Singapore.
Before the delays caused by the technical paused called by Indonesia, Singapore's VALORANT team was expected to have played their last match on Wednesday, and their return flight had been booked for Thursday evening.
The Singapore squad opted to return home instead, leaving just a representative who tearfully accepted the medals on their behalf.
This is the girl who represented Singapore to take the Gold medal pic.twitter.com/i4gYTNxq4K
— BLEED crazyguy (@crazyguyfps) May 11, 2023
Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com