DDoS Attacks Appear To Be Behind Decision By Daily Fantasy eSports Site
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Vulcun Shuts Down Fantasy Contests For Call Of Duty After DDoS Attacks On Gamers

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Cyberattacks are affecting the world of daily fantasy eSports, as Vulcun is suspending its fantasy offering based on Call of Duty contests.

DDoS attacks wreak havoc

Distributed denial-of-service attacks have plagued competitive contests in the the game Call of Duty, calling into question fantasy sports’ role in the attacks and the possibility that contests are being manipulated.

Here is the full statement from Vulcun:

Dear Vulcunites,

We have reached an agreement with MLG to put all contests on an indefinite hiatus. We are working with MLG to combat the issues pro players have been experiencing while in-game.

All current contests and quests have already been refunded. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope to bring back Call of Duty matches for our users in the very near future.

-Vulcun Team

The “issues” referenced appear to be DDOS attacks on top gamers in the current season of Major League Gaming‘s (MLG) Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Pro League, on which Vulcun’s fantasy contests are based.

News came out this weekend via The Daily Dot that MLG’s COD competitions had to be “reset” — starting a season over that had started in June. That move came after competitions were suspended for a time in July:

In a huge departure for the league, which serves as a vehicle to promote MLG’s streaming platform, MLG.tv. Live streaming of the remaining games will be at the discretion of the teams involved.

The announcement comes one day after OpTic Gaming’s fiery Ian “Crimsix” Porter said his team might be done with the league after finally getting fed up with a scourge of DDoS attacks that have plagued teams and especially his team, who seem to be a primary target.

Legal Sports Report has reached out to MLG for comment after Vulcun’s announcement.

So what does this have to do with Vulcun?

Vulcun’s decision could be practical — if the COD games aren’t streamed on MLG’s platform, it makes a lot less sense to provide DFeS competitions for them.

It’s also possible that there actually is a link between the DDoS attacks and Vulcun’s fantasy contests. The attacks — and their possible link to Vulcun — are the subject of a thread at Reddit.

Without going into too much detail, it is at least possible that the DDoS attacks could be related to the real-money fantasy eSports offered at Vulcun. An attack could delay or knock a key player offline, and would in turn affect the scoring for fantasy players at Vulcun.

A DDoS attack could also focus on an entire team, so that they can’t compete. Vulcun’s rules allow for fantasy contests to be resolved, even if all of the scheduled matches included in the fantasy contest aren’t concluded.

The takeaway: DFeS is still a very new industry

The daily fantasy eSports industry — led by Vulcun and AlphaDraft — didn’t even exist until earlier this year. And it went from basically nothing to a pair of websites that will give out millions of dollars in prizes this year.

The good in the eSports and DFeS industries include the successes surrounding this weekend’s The International 2015 for Dota 2, which awarded $18 million in prize money, was contested in front of big crowds in Seattle and attracted big numbers for fantasy contests.

But with the recent COD DDoS attacks, it seems clear the potential problems at the intersection of eSports and fantasy are still being realized as the industry grows.

Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.
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