There’s a good chance that you’ve already dealt with and continue to have put up with cheaters in competitive gaming. People trying to find shortcuts to success in video games is a real issue. Dishonest gameplay happens on all levels from casual online matches to the highest tiers of tournament play. Whether you’re competing for fun or there’s money on the line, cheating robs video games of its integrity and enjoyment. It’s frustrating when you’ve been putting in the time to develop your skills and be the greatest you can possibly.
We’re going to address how cheating has been happening, why current anti-cheating efforts haven’t ended cheating, and how blockchain technology can change the gaming industry. We’ll also discuss how Kronoverse can solve the cheating problem once and for all.
How are people even cheating in the first place?
If you already know how people are gaining unfair advantages in gaming, skip this section. For those of you who don’t know how gamers are cheating, here are some of the different ways dishonest gameplay happens. Keep in mind that the way a cheater gets the job depends on the type of game being played.
One of the most well-known methods of cheating in first-person shooter (fps) games is the use of aimbots. Also known as auto-aim, aimbots make it easier for gamers to find their targets during gameplay. It reduces the amount of skill needed to react in a timely manner and hit opponents which results in easy kills for the gamer using an aimbot. Back in 2018, professional gamer Nikhil “forsaken” Kumawat was caught cheating during a CS:GO tournament. Kumawat used an aimbot which resulted in him getting kicked out of the tournament and booted from his team.
This form of cheating is pretty much what it sounds like. Teaming is when esports athletes agree to give each other kills to help a single player climb the rankings. A specific example of teaming occurred during last year’s qualifiers for the $30 million Fortnite World Cup. Professional gamer Damon “XXiF” Cook was caught by the spectators when they saw that the kills he was racking up took very little effort. The news quickly spread on social media as Fortnite fans quickly shared the footage of the matches. All players involved in the event received a 14-day competitive ban from Fortnite and forfeited their Fortnite World Cup Finals qualification spot.
Watching a live broadcast to see what opponents are doing is known as stream-sniping. Instead of just focusing on the information they’re gathering from their own screens to figure out what their opponents are doing, this type of cheater gets ahead by seeing what their opponents are up to at all times. Cheaters who use this method don’t have to guess where their targets are on the map or the strategies and tactics their targets are using. Is this a real problem? It’s real enough that Tom60229 and his team were caught and disqualified from the Hearthstone Global Games.
Taking calls from spectators
Another form of cheating that has been exposed in gaming tournaments is esports athletes taking phone calls mid-match. Since spectators can see what all competitors are doing, they are able to see the full picture. In a Clash Royale competition, Gregory “GregEmpire77” Haloin took a phone call from his manager during a match who gave him insight in order to hopefully gain some advantage. GregEmpire77 ended up losing the match anyways despite receiving tips from his manager.
Throwing matches can be a potentially larger problem as the esports industry continues to grow. This form of corruption is becoming more and more organized leading to arrests especially because of the involvement of sports gambling. Here’s one example: Lee “Life” Seung-Hyun is a top-ranked Starcraft II player who was arrested in 2016 for match-fixing. Life was found guilty, a suspension from gaming, a $64,000 fine and, and an 18-month prison sentence.
No, taking substances to improve performance isn’t limited to baseball players and MMA fighters taking steroids. There’s a doping problem in the esports community as well. Some professional gaming communities suspect that more than half of the players in their respective circles use performance-enhancing drugs such as Adderall. The most popular drug among gamers is amphetamines because they enable gamers to be alert for longer periods of time than people not using amphetamines. Adderall isn’t the only drug of choice for gamers who choose to cheat via doping. Other drugs used in the gaming community include Ritalin and marijuana.
The arms race with anti-cheating solutions and why it’s not working
Despite the countless efforts by game developers and gaming organizations to end cheating for good, there are no solutions that have solved cheating for good. All of the different forms of dishonest gameplay shared above are still happening. Companies and organizations like ESIC are actively working to stop all forms of cheating in the esports industry but these problems continue to happen. They’re working really hard to provide the end-all answer to the cheating problem but no one has been able to get the job done.
Here are some of the current anti-cheating solutions and why they’re not effective:
Bans simply don’t work
One of the biggest reasons why cheating keeps happening in online matches is that it’s just too easy to make a new account despite placing bans on identified cheaters. This goes for just about every traditional video game you could play online against opponents around the world. If you catch an obvious hacker and report him/her, they can be banned but return to the game with a different account and still cheat. Anti-cheating companies can only study data they’re collecting from active game players but can’t identify banned returning cheaters.
Here’s a possible scenario: A cheater uses an aimbot to rack up easy kills thanks to an aimbot that improves accuracy by 60%. After playing 50 hours of a game, the cheater is finally identified by anti-cheat software and the cheater’s account is banned from the game. Within 24 hours, the cheater is back in the game after creating a new account but this time uses an aimbot that only improves accuracy by 10%. This aimbot and a fresh account enables the cheater to get back in the game, have an unfair advantage over other players, and play for an even longer period of time if the cheater is ever caught again.
Anti-cheating software isn’t reliable in high-level competition
For some of the top tournaments, anti-cheater software does a great job catching cheap cheats that can be purchased for $20-35 but struggle with identifying custom cheats that are worth thousands of dollars during a competition. This cheating software tends to only be useful in catching the higher level hacks after the event is over since tournament hosts have the time to review replays and analytics of matches.
In order for anti-cheating software to be effective mid-match, anti-cheating analytics need to be working in real-time but the capacity to do so doesn’t exist yet. You might have in-match evidence from replays but there’s no way to fully nail down a hack if you don’t have software evidence of dishonest gameplay.
Screening for drugs gets expensive
If you didn’t already know it, doping tests can be pricey for gaming leagues to conduct. With a potential price tag of $40,000 a year, it may be financially impossible for smaller leagues to detect athletes who use drugs to improve their gaming abilities. Bigger leagues with support from game publishers may be able to handle the costs but there are currently no sustainable solutions to testing all competitors. Due to the costs, no one knows how many games are using performance-enhancing drugs to gain an advantage in competition.
Increasing the risk of cheating
So far, the punishments for cheaters who have been caught have ranged from jail time sentences to fines to even bans from tournaments. As it goes to show, these penalties for guilty cheaters haven’t put an end to the cheating. Shady gaming practices are still happening despite the risk of getting slapped with fines and even losing their freedom.
There are currently not many anti-cheating solutions to identify cheaters before they qualify for online tournaments. Anyone can enter as long as they meet certain criteria but there isn’t necessarily a documented history on the gamers who have qualified. While this information can be discouraging, blockchain technology may provide the solutions to these problems.
Why blockchain can change the gaming industry
Blockchain technology can really improve the esports industry in more ways than one. The use of blockchain can catch and identify cheaters earlier on rather than later on in larger tournaments with millions of dollars at stake. Here’s how blockchain technology can be applied:
Recording and documentation of in-game actions
Everything that happens in a blockchain game is permanently saved. In-game recordings can’t be altered or deleted. All footage is saved on decentralized servers which reduces the risk of losing recordings should a server temporarily shut down. This ability of blockchain technology makes it possible for game regulators to have the evidence they need to nail down guilty cheaters.
Another benefit of blockchain technology is the increase in transparency for gamers and game developers. This greater transparency can lead to more trust and a higher level of dedication gamers have for their favorite games. Here are a couple of different ways blockchain increases transparency.
Access of game analytics isn’t just limited to game developers and publishers
Not only is every in-game action saved but all actions are reviewable by both gamers and game developers. This creates greater transparency and trust within a game’s community. Can you imagine what would happen throughout the esports industry if every bit of activity was accessible to the public? There’s a good chance that more cheaters would be caught and exposed.
One of the reasons why cheating happens so frequently is that it’s easy to be anonymous. Many traditional video games don’t require actual verification to create a gaming account. A player’s tendencies, skill level, and overall style of play are saved on the blockchain ledger which can be analyzed and tied to specific individuals. The data gathered from gameplay can be used to quickly nail down cheaters who were banned and attempted to get around the ban by creating a new account.
How Kronoverse can solve the issue of cheating
We can all agree that cheating ruins the fun and integrity of gaming. Kronoverse’s use of blockchain technology provides real solutions to solve the issue of cheating. Here’s how Kronoverse leverages the power of blockchain to solve the cheating problem for good:
As long as you have an account with Kronoverse, you will always have access to game data that is permanently stored and can’t be altered. Analytics and data collected through gameplay can always be reviewed and studied. This ongoing ledger makes it easier for players and developers to study trends and other key information about players they want to study and learn from.
Fulfilling the need for greater transparency
Knowing the actual rules and mechanics of a game will no longer be a mystery. Kronoverse’s focus on transparency means that you can freely study and learn the ins and outs of every game available through Kronoverse. You can actually see why a player wins or loses in every way through the different types of data available.
All past matches are saved forever on the blockchain and can be replayed at any time whether it’s a week from now or a year from now. This feature provided by Kronoverse serves as a time capsule of sorts. Say, for example, you know you are going to challenge someone who has beaten you five times in the past six months on CryptoFights. Kronoverse makes it possible for you to replay all five matches and learn from them to be better prepared for your sixth match and increase your chances of winning.
Getting dedicated spectators involved on a regular basis will greatly cut down on the amount of cheating in the esports industry. If you recall the cheating incident in which XXiF was caught for teaming. It was the Fortnite fans, not the tournament officials, who identified the dishonest gameplay by watching the footage. Kronoverse makes it possible for any user of its platform to watch matches live which increases the overall transparency of its community even more.
Do you have any thoughts on how to solve the cheating problem for good in the esports industry? Join us at https://community.kronoverse.io/!