Following the recent tragedy in Munich, Turner’s ELeague Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament will not be airing in Germany.
According to ESPN, television channel ProSieben MAXX planned to show ELeague’s semifinals on Friday and Saturday of this week. In the wake of the horrific shooting in Munich, Germany, however, they’ve elected to yank that broadcast.
Freaks 4U, a marketing agency involved in the setup and promotion of ELeague’s German broadcasts, offered the following statement to German gaming site 99Damage:
“Today, ELeague’s show has been canceled and the TV channel won’t show its last episode. I think it’s sad that such an event takes away the chance to show every non-esports fan how awesome this sport can be. It was a beautiful journey to represent the German esports scene [on] TV and am thankful to every single viewer, especially those who worked closely with us to give feedback.”
According to Bavarian officials (via Reuters), the Munich gunman was, himself, a Counter-Strike player. Robert Heimberger, president of the state crime office, said the gunman played Counter-Strike: Source, which he claimed is “a game played by nearly every known rampage killer.”
I’m gonna go ahead and put a big ol’ CITATION NEEDED next to that extraordinarily far-reaching claim, especially seeing as, according to SteamSpy, Counter-Strike also happens to be the first and second most popular Steam game in Germany. Global Offensive is the frontrunner, with Source coming in second. Granted, Heimberger’s stance isn’t entirely surprising given Germany’s uneasy relationship with violent video games and censorship. Counter-Strike has largely avoided that kind of scrutiny in the country up to this point.
All that said, it’s a shame that ELeauge won’t be airing on TV in Germany, especially given the presence of German team mousesports, one of the best in the world. Here’s hoping pro Counter-Strike is able to return to the airwaves at a later date. If this signals the beginning of wider pushback against the game—a game that’s created legitimate German stars—that’d be heartbreaking.
Still, this whole thing is worth considering from a broader perspective, if only for a moment. One of the most popular competitive games and eSports on Earth is about terrorists trying to detonate bombs and kill counter-terrorists. You can dress up that information however you want, but it’s a fact. It’s also a thrilling game to watch and play, a relentless dance of strategy and reflex with momentum shifts galore. And it’s hardly the only popular game based on, rooted in, or inspired by real world conflicts.
Most of the time, that’s fine. It’s not like these games create killers. But every once in a while, the subject matter hits a little too close to home. In these troubled times, I can’t begrudge people for not being terribly excited by the prospect of a gun on screen, for needing a bit of time to breathe.
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