During the Fornite World Cup Finals, 14 year old Mark ‘Letw1k3’ Danilov was removed from a match due to screen watching.
Cheating in Fortnite has been an annoying problem in the past six months and Epic’s handling of the issue hasn’t been all that great. Thankfully, the studio managed to sort out a possible cheating situation without much harm in the Fortnite World Cup Finals.
Due to the setup at the Finals, some players could see the spectator screens above them if they glanced past their own monitors. Letw1k3, a Russian player for Gambit eSports, looks to have attempted this ‘screen watching’ and got himself removed from a single match.
Letw1k3 removed from match for screen-watching
While this may seem like a straight-forward story, the reasons leading to such an headline do pose serious questions. The story was originally reported by Polygon after the conclusion of the event.
According to a tweet that Letw1k3 retweeted, the player only peeked over his monitor for a second. Of course, this isn’t much of an excuse in the end, but the tweet makes a good point about XXiF’s ban nonetheless.
An Epic employee told Polygon that Letw1k3 did not just look over a single time. Allegedly, he was warned several times and continued to peak over. This led the staff to remove the player from the match due to ‘screen-watching.’ The removal came after “multiple warnings.”
A spectator in the crowd manged to capture a reaction from the player when he was informed. Remember, this was during the very last game of the series. Letw1k3 could have potentially went on to win tens of thousands more.
It’s important to note that the same Epic representative also mentioned that the player “was not disqualified and will not be fined” for his actions.
The Fortnite Guy interviewed the young player and asked him about the situation. Letw1k3 told the YouTuber that he had heard a “slam” from somewhere in the arena and instinctively looked up. While this might be truthful, the stadium was booming with noise and no other players peeked their heads up at the same time.
We would like to put this out there. Shouldn’t a player be punished for cheating on a world championship stage? Of course, the removal from the game is a form of punishment, but why let him keep the $50,000 for playing? We think Epic knows the real blame isn’t on Letw1k3, but rather on themselves.
Cheater or not…why was this even possible?
Epic Games had been planning and creating the Fortnite World Cup Finals for months before its launch. One of the main rules of esports stages is that the players must not be able to view the spectator screens.
When players are playing for hundreds of thousands of dollars, if an advantage presents itself…many will take it. For this reason, the stages can’t allow for any form of screen-watching. Yet, Epic’s Finals stage had viewing angles for some players like Letw1k3 that allowed this to happen.
Designing an event where the players can’t see the screens isn’t easy, but it’s also not impossible. Epic’s budget for competitive gaming should be quite considerable due to the massive funding its gotten from the community via cosmetic sales. In our modern world, money makes things happen and a little more would have nipped this problem in the bud.
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Of course, players shouldn’t cheat no matter what the motivation. We’re not condoning the possible cheating of Letw1k3, but Epic should’ve done better to ensure the integrity of the event.
With all that said, the problem was probably an oversight by the designers of the event. The main focus, as always for Epic, is the spectacle and the viewer experience. We love that approach and hope they can continue to deliver eye-popping experiences. However, with esports, competitive integrity should take priority over all other issues.
Putting this unfortunate story aside, the Fortnite World Cup Finals were an amazing event. The Duos Finals, won by Aqua & Nyhrox, delivered a tight race to the finish. In stark contrast, the Solos Finals saw Bugha dominate the competition and keep a lead through all six matches of play.
What are your opinions of the Fortnite World Cup Finals and competitive Fortnite’s future? From our viewpoint, the scene’s sure to grow if Epic continues to improve and focus on creating a better competitive environment going forward.