IN THE NEWS: The Constant Anti-Cheat Battle

Credit: Activision
Weeding out cheaters in Call of Duty: Warzone continues to be a challenge for Activision.

It can be said that Call of Duty: Warzone is currently Activision’s hottest commodity right now. While the Call of Duty brand has long been a lucrative franchise, it was the focus on the free-to-play, player versus player (PvP) battle royale that helped Call of Duty ascend to unprecedented success. At this point, Warzone has become the main force driving Activision’s current success. But then there are the cheaters.

Whenever it comes to PvP games, developers and publishers are fighting a constant battle to not only make the game fair and accessible internally for users but also keep away players who enter games and exploit them through hacks and cheats. The Call of Duty staff posted an update this week that revealed that greater than 475,000 players have been permanently banned from Call of Duty titles, with a significant amount of bans happening just in the past two months. Also included in the update was the team’s focus on cheat merchants, who sell exploits for players to use within the games.

PunkBuster is one of the most well-known anti-cheat solutions used within many online games.

This will always be a challenge for companies that create and publish PvP online games. One way they have attempted to suppress the cheaters is through anti-cheat software. PunkBuster, Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC), Easy Anti-Cheat, and BattlEye are the ones that I’m more familiar with and have seen more often. I’m sure these solutions have been effective to a certain extent in preventing cheaters from participating online, but there always seems to be exploits that can remain one step ahead.

I truly empathize with organizations such as Activision, which want users to enjoy their products, as well as the players who simply want a fair experience. Cheating is one of the main reasons why I don’t readily participate in PvP gaming and would rather settle for gameplay against bots. When I tried my hand at the Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Battlefield 3 multiplayer during the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 days, I remembered how frustrating it was to constantly feel like I wasn’t given a fair chance to succeed from the start. I can respect that there are players who put in the time and work. Furthermore, I can respect players who are just better than me at a game and who have a higher skill level than I do. But to shoot a player in the head multiple times only to have that same player walk straight up to me and eliminate me with one knife swipe was ludicrous. There were many other incidents I can share similar to that. At the time, I didn’t know how big cheating was in multiplayer games, but those incidents had me stop playing online and I eventually traded in the two games for something else.

Cheaters turned me away from great games such as Battlefield 3 on the Xbox 360.

It’s a shame that cheaters are ruining the experience for players due to the need for gratification or just to be a troll. Their selfishness can tarnish the game as a whole. As a Steam user, I’ve seen many discussions on the message boards of multiplayer games that had potential to be abandoned because cheaters were running rampant in the matches. Cheating not only affects the players, but it also affects the bottom line. This means that we could be missing out on potentially great games due to cheaters driving people away from them. For those reasons alone (with others I could list), I support gaming companies who are striving to bring the hammer down on online cheating.

What do you think about this ongoing issue in multiplayer games, particularly shooters such as Call of Duty: Warzone? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section. Have a great weekend.


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