One of the most notable names in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and eSports has closed its doors, with the Singaporean organisation Titan unable to continue paying their players or staff.
“Here we are now, starting 2016 without a budget high enough to keep a CS:GO team or pay our amazing staff. How profoundly sad.”
That’s the nail in the coffin and it came courtesy of Damien Grust, the founder and chief executive officer of Titan. Grust posted the farewell on Titan’s website earlier this morning, but he left no doubt as to what the core problem for the business was.
According to Grust, everything began to go pear-shaped at the end of 2014 when one of Titan’s CS:GO players was banned for cheating. That player was Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian, who admitted to using a third-party cheat in public servers and matchmaking.
Accusations persisted that KQLY used the cheats during LAN events as well, but the French player has stringently denied those claims. Nevertheless, the fallout crippled Titan. “All the bad press that this brought and the major hit the image of an otherwise respectable brand took, was too much,” Grust wrote.
“Sponsors and partners with whom we were about to sign, understandably backed out of deals, not wanting to be associated with a company that had just been tarnished. Needless to say, our budget for 2015 had gone up in smoke from one day to another.”
The Titan CEO kept things going throughout 2015 by forcing himself “to reinvest into Titan”. Options were explored, including mergers or selling equity in Titan, but nothing eventuated. And this happened while the organisation’s CS:GO and SMITE teams continued to perform. Titan’s SMITE team finished 2nd in the world championships for the free-to-play MOBA, while the CS:GO team enjoyed a rollercoaster 2015 that saw them hovering around the second tier of global competition.
The news comes a day after Titan released their SMITE team, although that was due to the players opting to “go their separate ways”. Titan also was the home of the top-tier Quake dueller Alexei “Cypher” Yanushevsky and one of the better teams in the South East Asian Dota 2 scene, the latter of which finished in the top 10 at The International in 2014 and collected several regional wins along the way.