Opinion is split after the organizers of the upcoming Killer Instinct World Cup confirm that players caught ‘teabagging’ during tournament play will receive a season-long ban.

In March, the Killer Instinct World Cup is scheduled to take place in San Antonio, Texas, serving as the finale of the 2016-17 season of top-level competition for the enduringly popular fighting game. It’s now been confirmed that any player who taunts their opponent by ‘teabagging’ will be banned from participating in the 2017-18 season.

For the uninitiated, ‘teabagging’ refers to the practice of repeatedly crouching to taunt an opponent. It’s most popular in FPS games, but it’s often seen in Killer Instinct because the game allows players to move around freely between rounds and after a KO.

Tournament organizers are citing a desire for sportsmanship and professionalism as the reasoning behind the ban. The rule was in place at last year’s event, and has been reinstated for 2017 after an online discussion of the practice devolved into threats of violence, according to a report from Event Hubs.

The organizers are clearly trying to instil a sense of legitimacy to the tournament, and it’s easy to see why. Pro gaming is a growing enterprise, and it would be unwise for anyone in charge of a tournament to let unsporting behavior detract from the event.

Killer Instinct Gargos Character

This isn’t the most drastic action taken to ensure that a gaming tournament goes ahead without controversy. The Electronic Sports League started drug testing at events in 2015, after it emerged that top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players had been taking Adderall to improve their performance.

“We promote a fun, professional and safe experience,” wrote Killer Instinct World Cup organizer in a Facebook post. “Not a violent and unprofessional one.” However, some members of the fighting game community feel that the ban could have a negative impact on the quality of competition.

High-level play in a game like Killer Instinct is as much about mind games as it is about conventional offence and defence. Many players taunt their opponent to try and reveal a weakness, but that strategy has effectively been outlawed by the rules laid down for the World Cup.

“Stirring emotion in your opponent is a key tactic in all competition/warfare,” tweeted Iron Galaxy’s Adam Heart. Despite support from the development team and top players, it doesn’t seem like the event’s organizers intend to overturn the ban.

Killer Instinct is available now for Xbox One and PC.

SCROLL FOR NEXT ARTICLE