PMCO Pakistan finally comes to an end after six official reschedules and many small postpone for several reasons, most prominent one being hacking allegations. PMCO: Fall Season was set to bring out new talents in front of the world but unfortunately, most of the hidden gems were overshadowed by hackers qualifying in the group stages of PMCO.
The first reschedule and resulted bans:
The entire chain of events started when PMCO: Pakistan was halted midway during their group stages. The official stream was paused midway and casters announced a short interval after which the stream was turned off. After some time, several screenshots were posted on social media which stated that the tournament was postponed on 13th August due to “suspicious behavior of some players” and the tournament was postponed until its “integrity” was insured.
The suspicion was ultimately true as four teams were banned for lifetime on the next day, 14th August. The teams named Team Xetreme, 47 esports, Team ECSTASYYY and TheHELLFIREs were banned. According to the official statement given, “The PUBG Mobile Esports team investigated the currently active competitive PUBG Mobile players of PMCO Pakistan. We have discovered that four teams have made use of an unauthorized program, the type of which has been severely damaging the integrity of the game PUBG Mobile therefore we have decided to ban the following four teams from ongoing PMCO Pakistan and future PUBG Mobile tournaments for lifetime.”
The next wave of postponement and bans:
After the initial bans and investigations, the entire edition of PMCO for South Asian region was questioned and hence soon after the above incident, PMCO tournaments for India, Pakistan and South Asia region were postponed on 16th August. What followed was the biggest crackdown on hackers in PUBG Mobile’s esports history.
The dignity of PMCO, one of the most prestigious events in PUBG Mobile, was already beginning to falter with hackers managing to evade in-game anti-cheat system and reach for group stages and hence stringent actions were soon taken. After the tournaments were postponed, another massive banwave emerged under which a total of 19 teams, comprising of almost 80 total players were disqualified from PMCO out of which 11 belonged to India region and the remaining from Pakistan region. The list of teams already included the first four teams banned and some more teams faced the same fate very soon.
The Semi-finals and Finals stages:
After the bans were placed, the tournament was sailing smoothly for the entire South Asian region but for PMCO: Pakistan, that was not the case. On 26th August, the tournament was again postponed for one day to scan some more players for hacks and as a result,Team IDL got banned for hacking. The ban was imposed as the team was using “unfair means” in the semi-finals which indicated to a possibility of hackers still playing after a managing to avoid getting caught during the earlier massive investigation.
Soon after this, the tournament was again postponed for other reasons like heavy rains in some parts which affected the connectivity. The tournament was also on a break for two days because of regulatory measures taken by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
The teams playing in finals tried to boycott the tournament due to which PMCO Pakistan faced another small postponement for “suspicious behaviors of players.” The expected outcome was some finalist team facing a banhammer but instead, a semifinalist team named Team No Rules was banned for using unfair means.The players continued to boycott the tournament after a couple of more postponements, a final verdict was passed.
According to the above screenshot, the teams were given a choice to either play in the finals or boycott which would lead them to lose all the future invites and prize pool money. The teams that complied to the above rules played in the one-day final stage. For the first time, ten matches were scheduled in just one day where players battled out for almost seven hours with small breaks to win the regional finals. Such catastrophic chain of events came to an end when the finals were concluded with Team Scytes as the winners. The top three teams qualified for the PMPL: South Asia region.
After such a long term of constant reschedules and many bans, the tournament came to an end on a questionable note. The teams were still trying to boycott the finals which indicate towards suspicious players being present despite all the previous actions taken. The future of teams qualifying in PMPL:South Asia is also uncertain as PUBG Mobile is banned in India and a large portion of competitors in this tournament belonged to the same country.
The entire PUBG Mobile Club Open: Pakistan was a roller coaster ride for the players as well as the fans watching this tournament. Hackers being present at such a large scale question the anti-cheat detection capability of this game. Although the game received its biggest update which includes anti-cheats improvements, this tournament was still a disaster filled with cheaters. Not only large portion of deserved teams missed out on their slots in PMCO, the competing teams eliminated into group stages shared the same fate as they failed to qualify further and two hacking teams snatched those slots.