Recently Counter-strike pros were concerned about the Krieg imba just recently, but Valve resolved the issue, increasing the weapon’s cost. Now they are talking about the next problem: soundproof on the local tournaments. As professional gamers say, they can often hear shouting and even tips from the crowd.

What Happened

dupreeh was the first to raise this topic after the ESL One New York 2019 in September. His team Astralis was facing Team Liquid in the stage match, and there were no soundproof booths. During de_dust2, spectators were shouting out clues, giving away Astralis players’ positions.

Even though Astralis won the match, the player was outraged by such fans’ behavior:

It’s still soooo disappointing from the fans that you can hear them call out our positions. It’s such a disgrace to the competition; even if you don’t even hear it as a player. Just pack your stuff and never come back if you’re going to ruin it for everyone.

— dupreeh

He expanded on this later in December, explaining that it’s not about just calling out the positions, but the whole atmosphere, too. If a player hears that the crowd is excited, he will start checking the tricky spots where an enemy player might be ambushing.

There are more situations where the crowd can make a crucial impact on the game, says mousesportsRopz. Stage sound, for example, can tell a player how much opponents did his grenade hit. Also, it’s nearly impossible for a defending team’s player to defuse the bomb secretly because the crows start shouting.

AstralisXyr9x emphasizes that the tournament operators must learn how to build the booths that will actually be soundproof, not only look like they are. The other problem they have to solve is that booths are shaking because of bass.

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.

— Xyr9x

How To Fix Soundproofing

Stages Design

Tournaments’ operators must design the stages more carefully, paying more attention to the bass issue. The solution most lies in the speakers’ position most likely, because low-frequency sound has a long wavelength. Of course, sound engineers are aware of this, but currently, they only think about the spectators, not taking the players into account too much.

Soundproof Headphones

Only the professional soundproof headphones must be used in the tournaments. To note: the Razer gaming headphones are not professional. Those are the headphones of locked type, similar to what they use in helicopters. They must have an active noise reduction, or the white noise must play — they do it in League of Legends, for example. Whenever white noise is used, the players will wear earphones additionally.

In most of the tournaments, players wear good soundproofing headphones. It’s still questionable if they have white noise playing in them, though.

Soundproof Booths

It’s easy to say that someone needs to make the booths ‘even more soundproofing’. But, honestly, I don’t know the process in detail to explain how to do it. But at least, it should become a point of concern.

Crowd Behavior

If you ever watched tennis tournaments, you know that by the rules, spectators must remain silent during the game. A player won’t even serve until everyone calms down. That comes from respecting the fact that players must concentrate, and they also must hear the referees.

Is it possible to implement something like this in esports? I think that the answer is pretty much no. First, we didn’t do it from the beginning, and now a generation grew up, having in mind that esports cheering is about shouting as loud as possible.

They learned it from such sports as football, basketball, baseball, and ice hockey. It’s also true that those sports are much closer to Counter-strike or Dota than tennis, which is closer to StarCraft. However, they don’t have any concealed information: every player on the field can see everything that’s going on, and it’s up to his skills to make decisions and execute.

But in almost every esports game, there is concealed information. And even though we already made a mistake leading the crowd the wrong way, now we have to do what we can to slowly push it back. It won’t work if you send security to make them hush, but it will work if opinion-makers will emphasize it more often.

Turning the crowd doesn’t take one day, but it is possible. Those who weight CS:GO community and are concerned must take their action. Do it instead of raging on Twitch moderators who don’t let you call someone a faggot. As s1mple as that.