There are four main reasons why people cheat in online video games and even more ways to stop them, according to Clint Sereday and Nemanja Mulasmajic, executives of an anti-cheat game company called Byfron, who gave a talk at GDC, Stephen writes.
Why is this important: Game studios are in perpetual conflict with cheaters, with the biggest games routinely banning thousands of accounts in an effort to prevent cheating from scaring off the rest of the player base.
According to Sereday and Mulasmajic: Content cheaters want a shortcut to getting a game’s newest unlockable content.
- A good counter: Make content unlocking terms reasonable and achievable.
Money cheats are people who profit from making and selling cheats that exploit technical loopholes.
- A good counter: Send lawyers after them.
- “They care about money. So if you go after them with legal experts, they tend to fall back quickly,” says Byfron’s CTO Mulasmajic.
Another “most important thing you can do”, according to Mulasmajic: Design the game to resist cheating.
- Games that limit the information sent to the server about what a competing player is doing from far away on the map in a competitive strategy game, for example, prevent the development of cheats who would otherwise reveal that information to a cheater.
Glory cheats are people who think they need to cheat to get ahead in a competitive game.
- “They’re more reformable,” said Byfron founder Sereday, and they cheat if they think they can get away with it.
- A good counter: He advises shutting down exploits and fixing game balance where possible, alleviating the feeling that cheating is essential to continue enjoying the game.
- Another counter is to punish high profile cheaters (pros, influencers) for sending a message that cheating is not acceptable.
power cheaters are trolls, people for whom cheating is a game and who see bans as a badge of honor.
- A good counter: Prohibit at the hardware level and require additional factors to create new accounts – entering a phone number, for example – which can also be prohibited.
- Another counter could be to spin some of them.
- Extending an olive branch to some strong League of Legends cheaters didn’t eliminate repeat offenders (80% were banned again), but some were reformed and provided inside information about cheaters and previously unknown communities.
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