In 2016, the Indian esports scene was still in its infancy.
“Back then, esports basically meant going to your local gaming cafe to win Rs 2,000 and that saved the weekend,” says Nishant Patel, esports entrepreneur at AFK Gaming.
However, the entry of the American company OpTic Gaming in 2018 changed everything.
“It was very important for me to focus on India. I thought there was a huge potential there,” says Jesal Parekh, former Director of Global Development at OpTic India.
OpTic decided to turn its attention to Counter-Strike, a first-person shooter with a dedicated fan base.
Trial training was held in Bangalore to create a new team. Thousands of players applied, but only five were chosen, including a player nicknamed "the forsaken".
“Even though people said he was a little tricky, we didn’t have any evidence or concrete leads,” says team member Sabyasachi Bose.
Despite the warning signs, the group continued to fight and won the Indian qualification for the international tournament in Shanghai.
In the beginning, everything looked very promising.
“We played in Vietnam, a competitive game for us, I had a very good result. Yes, I single-handedly destroyed them,” Sabyasachi recalled.
“OpTic India was on the brink of victory,” explains Nikhil Hathiramani, Editor-in-Chief of CSGO2Asia. "
"We were halfway through the round when we realized the admins had called for a break."
A break usually occurs when there is a technical problem such as B. the monitor is turning off.
But it quickly became clear that something more serious had happened: forsaken was caught cheating.
“He was cheating representing one of the biggest organizations in the world and taking part in one of the biggest tournaments in Asia,” says Prashant.
How did he do it?
“This guy had a special button on the side and when he pressed it, the cheat activated,” says Umes Umesh Kripalani, Caster’s talent manager.
His teammates who were eliminated from the tournament were devastated and the fans in India also felt betrayed.
“There was talk of beating him up at the airport,” says Siddharth Nayyar, esports entrepreneur, AFK Gaming.
There was nothing left but to disband the team.