Cheating in esports: Past, present, future

Players trying to gain an unfair advantage in video games is nothing new. It’s been happening for decades and continues to take place even in tournaments with millions of dollars on the line. Here are some of the ways cheating has occurred in the past, how it continues, and what gaming companies are doing about it:


Gamers during the 1980s to 1990s saw cheat codes increase in popularity. What made these codes well-known was that they were made available by the game developers. Video game developers did this in order to save time when testing and debugging video games prior to releasing their creations to the market. Depending on the game, players could use specific codes to beat difficult bosses or skip a few levels. Below are some of the most well-known cheat codes of all time:

  • Konami code: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start
  • Doom: make yourself practically invincible with IDDQD
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: hold A, press up, down, left, right, and once the chime sounds, hit start allows you to select a level
  • Mortal Kombat: toggle blood and gore with ABACABB

With the right code, savvy gamers could easily change their gaming experience to whatever they wanted it to be.


Since the 1990s, video games have greatly improved when it comes to graphics, controllers, and everything else in between. Competitive gaming increased in frequency thanks to the advancements in internet speed and connectivity. Everyone from the casual gamer to the professional gamer can easily hop online and play anything from FIFA to Fortnite. Here are some of the ways cheating happens in esports today:

  • Aimbots: using a modification that provides automated targeting in shooting games such as Counter-Strike
  • Rage quit: when a player losing in online competition turns off his/her internet connection before the game is officially over
  • Teaming: Solo players cooperating to influence the outcome of an online match which happened in the quarterfinals of the $30 million Fortnite World Cup

Cheating activities like the methods listed above are frustrating for players who are doing their best to compete with honesty and integrity. Luckily for gamers who don’t cheat, actions are being taken to deal with those who do.

A more honest future

Dealing with cheaters is no fun for amateur and professional gamers alike. Fortunately for the honest gamer, there are companies taking steps to cut down on cheating in esports with new technology. The companies listed below are just a few of the organizations working to increase transparency and enforce honest gameplay:

  • Steam: One of the biggest online gaming platforms, Steam has created the Valve Anti-Cheat System (VAC) which automatically scans a player’s computer for cheats.
  • Kronoverse: Using blockchain technology, Kronoverse makes it possible for both gamers and developers to review matches in detail. People can analyze every move ever made to every transaction that’s been processed.
  • Even Balance Inc.: PunkBuster by Even Balance Inc. focuses on identifying and removing cheaters from online games with software.

With the collective efforts of companies like Steam and Kronoverse, the esports industry will be able to improve its integrity and encourage honest gameplay.