As the coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate, Flashpoint has taken measures to protect players and staff from contracting the virus.
Flashpoint announced on March 17 that LAN matches planned to take place in Los Angeles will temporarily be postponed. The matches will take place in online play where players and staff can remain safe in their homes and hotels.
Flashpoint to delay tomorrow's matches and move online as we battle COVID-19. We look forward to helping fill the content void and continuing to provide CS:GO fans with entertainment. pic.twitter.com/2zPAJKGNhW
— Flashpoint (@Flashpoint) March 17, 2020
The announcement states that the teams competing in the league will stay in Los Angeles, and will wait to play online games while the competitive integrity of online play is established.
FACEIT is acting as the league’s operator who is well renowned for its online platform, providing tournaments for games like League of Legends, Rocket League, DOTA 2 and Counter-Strike and are well versed in online competitive formats.
Although online tournaments are common in the Counter-Strike community the format is already established before play. Transitioning from LAN to an online event is not done as often and will take the Flashpoint team some time to ensure the usual competitive infrastructure is there.
The news comes after the first round of play in Phase 1 of the group stage concluded, which took place in their studio in Los Angeles. Flashpoint is not the only tournament organizer affected, with Valve canceling a major, and ESL Pro League transitioning to online play with the finals intended to be at a studio location.
An unfortunate start for Flashpoint
When the Flashpoint league was announced the tournament organizers wanted to have a level of media coverage between games that was unseen before, a lot which seemed to rely on being in the studio with players being face to face. They intend to have better character arcs, storylines, and rivalries and even hired an ex-WWE writer to build the hype and drama around the league to enhance viewer engagement.
Viewers saw a glimpse of this in their opening stream which saw a new format where teams would pick opponents to be in their group. This was followed by players criticizing and belittling each other, giving more meaning behind each game.
Transitioning to an online event will impact this type of media coverage and viewers will be eager to see if the same level of drama can be achieved without being in the studio.