Competitive integrity and stage games
Thanks for picking this important issue up which I really agree needs to be addressed. Let me start by making clear that there is a clear difference between (i) the crowd actually giving away a position or other sensitive information (e.g. shouting "A") and (ii) the crowd getting loud and excited about a play that is about to happen, as was the case with this play. The former is unacceptable whereas the latter which is consider crowd and fan enthusiasm/excitement is really what this is all about. Both can, however, be equally detrimental to the outcome of a round and a match. From my perspective, no sound - whether from the crowd or other source - should have influence on the outcome of a round or a match and below I've tried to explain how I think this issue may be addressed and why I think this is an equipment/TO issue rather than a player or a crowd issue.
From a player perspective: Being on stage for an important match is a high-pressure situation. You rely on instinct and intuition to a greater extent. Reacting to the excitement of the crowd is pure instinct. When the crowd gets loud in situations where there is no specific action from our POV, players get paranoid of what is about to happen. That’s simply why I’m extra vigilant. It is in my competitive nature and it is a part of the stage games - and will forever be - until we find a solution which blocks out all sounds completely. Should I pretend I didn't get the info and run out and die to a player which I was already aiming at before crowd's excitement gave away the position? What am I supposed to do?
From a crowd perspective: Should the crowd not have gotten loud and excited? In the current situation, where players can hear the crowd, a loud crowd clearly causes an issue for the competitive integrity of CS:GO. But then why is it that we erect these big stages and have fans filling up arenas? It’s really all about the excitement and the entertainment of those fans. There is nothing more enjoyable than being on the edge of the seat together with thousands of other fans watching the game and getting excited about a play together. Imagine getting told as a fan in the arena that you're not allowed to get excited or react to during a round and that you're only able to cheer after a finished round, like tennis for example. I would hate that for CS:GO, especially, if there are simply other solutions to solve the issue.
Sadly, the issue extends further than players picking up reactions from the from the crowd. In mid-2017, I did a post on it being too easy to hear the bass of the speakers in the arena (https://twitter.com/xyp9x/status/871803803246448642). Observers like to spectate where there is action or when an execute is about to happen. So, when you throw a grenade or a molotov and it potentially hits someone and it blows out in the speakers in the arena - a player knows that at least one or possibly more enemies are in that area. Also, the bass usually makes the scene vibrate. This is something which is widely known to most players and which is also just a part of stage games with the current equipment we have to work with.
What is the solution then mr Xyp9x? As I see it, there is only one option:
Make soundproof booths. I’m not talking about booths which are merely made to look like soundproof booths, but where players are in fact able to hear the speaker bass and the crowd anyway. I'm talking about a properly soundproofed booth which eliminates undue outside sound interference. Also, I'm talking about diligently placing the speakers or designing the stage in a manner which it prevents it from being vibrated by the bass.
If there are other solutions, I’d love to hear about them, and I’m sure the TO’s would appreciate it too. But for now, this is the only thing I have tried and know that worked.
I realize that implementing booths comes with trades. There are a lot of costs associated with creating properly soundproofed booths and having them shipped around. I’ve also heard about rules on fire hazards causing challenges with respect to booths inside an arena. I also realize that it disconnects the players from the fans to some extent. However, I think that we need to work together on overcoming these hurdles to ensure the best possible fan experience whilst at the same time protecting the competitive integrity of our game.
I hope that this post has shed some light on the situation and that it will help the community realize that this is a broader issue affecting every single tournament with a stage game. A solution has to be found for this issue and we need to work together, that's for sure.
On the player side of things, we will be discussing this within the players association and afterwards reach out to TO's with a view to find solutions.