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How to combat cheating in gaming
Piracy
5 mins

How to combat cheating in gaming

Table of Contents:

    Online gaming has a cheating problem. 61% of gamers have said that they’ve been caught using a cheat at least once. Cheating negatively impacts players and developers, impacting player experience, community engagement, and the game’s overall profitability. 

    Anti-piracy solutions for video games are a multi-faceted approach to mitigate cheating in gaming. This article teaches how anti-piracy solutions protect your organization from lawsuits, retain profits, and build an engaging gaming community. 

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    What’s cheating in video games? 

    Cheating in video games refers to lines of code or a program that exploits game systems using external tools to gain an unfair advantage over their competition, whether in the form of other players or the game’s internal challenges. 

    Additionally, cheating can involve the use of unauthorized or modified versions of a game, which also constitutes an unfair advantage. This can range from simple exploits within the game’s code to complicated third-party software designed to integrate within the game system.

    Cheats can also vary depending on the type of game played. For example, cheats in first-person shooters (FPS) like Valorant or Counter-Strike include aim assist programs, wallhacks, and trigger bots. Meanwhile, multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs) like League of Legends have scripting and map hacking. 

    Is it illegal to cheat in gaming?

    While cheating is universally frowned upon in the gaming community and can lead to bans or restrictions from game developers, it’s technically not illegal to use cheats in video games. However, distributing or selling cheating software can be illegal under copyright, contract law, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. These legal consequences extend to the creation and distribution of cheating software, which can face legal action from the publisher for copyright infringement, breach of contract, or violations of the DMCA.

    Scope of the problem

    Cheating in gaming is detrimental to both users and developers. It disrupts the fair play environment and can lead to frustration among players when their efforts feel undermined. When players consistently encounter cheaters, they lose enthusiasm for the game. One study revealed that 77% of players said they would likely leave a game if they felt other players had an unfair advantage. 60% of gamers across the globe have had ruined multiplayer gaming experiences due to other players cheating. 

    From a brand perspective, public outrage and negative media coverage surrounding cheating incidents can result in widespread brand damage, making it challenging for the company to attract new players and retain existing ones.

    A negative reputation as a company negligent in addressing bugs and exploits impacts partnerships and investor confidence. It makes it challenging to convince existing players to continue supporting the game and the company.

    What are the common cheats in gaming?

    While each gaming genre has its own set of specific cheats, most hacks fall into one of these three categories:

    Software-based cheats: Programs created to manipulate game data or code within an internal system. Aimbots, wallhacks, and map hacks are common software cheats that ruin player experience.

    Exploits: Defined by the abuse of game glitches to create an advantage, such as movement speed bugs, cheesing, and geometry exploits where players access inaccessible areas through mistakes in world physics.

    Account sharing and boosting: Account sharing involves different individuals using the same game account, leading to unfair gameplay advantages. Boosting involves artificially inflating a player’s rank or statistics through coordinated gameplay, often involving secondary accounts.

    How to access cheats and where to find them

    Players access cheats through a myriad of platforms that cater to the gaming community’s darker interests:

    • Cheat websites: These feature repositories of cheat software, providing easy access to tools designed to manipulate game systems.
    • Forums and social media groups: These serve as bustling hubs where users exchange information about exploiting game vulnerabilities, sharing cheat codes, and detailed instructions.
    • Downloadable software and cheat codes: Offered on various platforms, these tools allow players to directly modify gameplay, enabling significant advantages such as invisibility or unlimited resources.
    • Installation guides: Community-shared comprehensive guides on how to effectively install and use cheats, ranging from simple tweaks to complex programs that alter the game’s core functionality.
    • Video content tutorials: Cheaters create YouTube videos or short content to post on social media explaining how to execute cheats, oftentimes adding links to the sources above.

    Financial consequences of cheating in gaming 

    The financial consequences of cheating in gaming are profound and multifaceted, affecting several aspects of game economics and player engagement:

    • Erosion of in-game purchases: Players are less likely to spend money on in-game items if they perceive others are unfairly gaining similar advantages, leading to decreased revenue from these purchases.
    • Impact on player retention: Rampant cheating undermines player trust and satisfaction, often resulting in a significant drop in active players which directly impacts long-term game profitability.
    • Brand and marketability damage: Widespread cheating tarnishes a game’s reputation, making it less attractive to new players and potential investors who consider brand integrity a key factor.
    • Investment and partnership risks: Cheating can deter investment and affect partnerships, as financial backers are wary of associating with games known for poor player experience and security measures.

    How cheating affects player loyalty 

    Gamers love the challenge of a good game. In any highly competitive market, a strong sense of fairness and integrity is necessary to keep users engaged. Cheating not only erodes a game’s competitive edge but it also makes it harder for users to stay engaged and ultimately trust the game’s developers. 

    Games were made to be fun. When games aren’t fun, players look to their competition for fair play and a cheat-free environment. This results in a loss of market share and long-term customer loyalty for the company.

    Cheating incidents not only impact individual games but can also tarnish the company’s overall reputation. 

    Legal consequences of cheating in gaming

    The legal consequences for cheat creators are clear: the creation and distribution of cheating software can face legal action from the publisher for copyright infringement, breach of contract, or violations of DMCA. 

    Cheating allegations can also lead to legal battles for game developers and publishers. Players or consumer advocacy groups file lawsuits against the company for false advertising, unfair competition, or breach of contract, resulting in costly legal fees and potential damages.

    Legal issues arising from cheating scandals can also complicate partnerships and licensing agreements. Esports organizations and sponsors may want to distance themselves from games with known cheating issues, in fear of the issues affecting their revenue stream and other opportunities.

    How to combat cheating in gaming 

    To effectively combat cheating in gaming, developers and publishers must employ a combination of advanced technology and expert knowledge. Leveraging the expertise of anti-piracy and anti-cheat solutions like Red Points’ can significantly enhance the ability to detect, deter, and deal with cheating activities. Here’s how a comprehensive approach looks:

    • Detection: Utilizing advanced algorithms and machine learning technology, Red Points’ platform can scan and monitor online environments continuously, identifying potential cheating software distributions and infringements.
    • De-listing: Once a cheat or infringement is identified, it is crucial to minimize its accessibility. Red Points automates the process of reporting these infringements to search engines and online platforms, ensuring they are removed or de-indexed quickly, reducing the risk of spread.
    • Monitoring: Continuous monitoring is essential to stay ahead of cheaters. Red Points keeps track of incidents and violations 24/7, gathering real evidence of any infringement activity, which is crucial for taking informed action.
    • Removal: Automatic removal of cheating content is facilitated through cease and desist notifications sent to infringers, as well as direct removal requests to hosting services and platforms where these cheats are distributed.
    • Measure: Effective anti-cheating measures require constant evaluation. Red Points provides insights and analytics to measure the impact of anti-piracy efforts and adapt strategies accordingly.

    This integrated approach ensures that game developers can protect their games from cheating effectively, maintaining fair play and ensuring a great gaming experience for all players.

    What’s next

    As the gaming industry continues to face challenges with cheating, the focus remains on maintaining fair and enjoyable environments for all players. Strategies that include leveraging advanced detection technologies, robust monitoring systems, and quick response mechanisms are essential. Additionally, emphasizing the importance of fair play through continuous education and strengthening partnerships across the industry will help foster a united front against cheating. 

    Are you curious to learn how to protect your game from cheating? Request a demo to speak with one of our Anti-Piracy experts and see which option best suits your needs.

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