It’s no secret that many PC gamers use cheats to get ahead in their favorite multiplayer games. Whether it’s to get an edge on the competition or just to have more fun, cheating has become a common practice in the gaming world. However, there is growing concern among game developers and players alike that this type of behavior negatively affects the overall multiplayer experience. In this article, we will take a closer look at both sides of this debate and try to develop a solution.
The Introduction to PC Cheating
Video gaming cheating has been around for a long time. The first cheat codes were actually used in arcade games back in the early 1980s. These codes allowed players to bypass certain game restrictions or get extra lives or power-ups.
In mid-term games, like the Grand Theft Auto series, cheat codes are implemented as part of the official code because they allow players to access more entertaining features and ways of playing the game, creating a unique and fun experience. Cheat codes could include anti-gravity modifications, spawning a new sports car, or God Mode, literally allowing players to act like gods.
However, not all cheat codes are equal, and cheating has become an epidemic in recent years, and not for positive reasons.
Cheats have evolved from being fun little video games add-ons and are now far more sophisticated and far more dangerous to the overall game experience.
Why Do PC Gamers Cheat?
There are several reasons why people might choose to cheat in a multiplayer game. For some, it’s simply a way to have more fun and enjoy the game on a higher level. Cheating can also give players an edge over their opponents, allowing them to win more often and gain more rewards. Some people also believe that cheating is not really cheating if everyone else is doing it, which leads us to the next point.
To properly understand the effect of PC cheats on modern multiplayer gaming, we first need to examine how they work and why people choose to use them. Cheating is when someone uses an external program or device to gain an unfair advantage over other players during competitive play sessions. These programs are typically designed so that they can be used discreetly and without the knowledge of other players. This can give cheaters a significant advantage over their opponents, often leading to unfair outcomes.
There are many different types of PC cheats out there, but some of the most common ones include hacks that allow you to see through walls, aimbots that help you shoot more accurately, and bots that can automatically play the game for you. While some of these cheats may seem harmless, they can actually negatively impact the multiplayer experience. For example, hacks that allow you to see through walls can give cheaters an unfair advantage by allowing them to track other players’ movements more easily. This not only ruins the sense of fair play that’s supposed to exist in competitive games but also creates an environment where cheaters have an unfair advantage over legitimate players.
There is also an interesting psychological aspect of why video game players cheat. There’s a desire and craving to look good in front of others within all of us. For others to look at us with awe and respect for what we’re able to achieve.
Of course, using cheats means you get a ‘fake high’ of doing this, or a slim impression of what it actually feels like (imagine how a popular streamer feels when they frag in front of hundreds or thousands of people), but it’s not the real thing. However, sometimes it’s more than enough to get the pretend version of the feeling.
What’s more, some games will offer skins and other cosmetics to players who reach a certain rank, and players who want these can just cheat their way there, get the goods, and continue as normal.
This is all based on a strong psychological known as ‘impression management,’ which basically needs to prove to the outside world that we are talented and skilled at how we spend our time. It’s similar to stealing a pair of designer trainers or knock-off designer clothes.
When a player gets them, they get a boost in self-worth and self-esteem because they have achieved whatever they set out to achieve, whether that’s gaining a cosmetic or reaching a certain rank.
Cheating is on the Rise
In recent years there has been an increase in cheating across multiplayer games. In fact, a study by The New York Times found that almost 50% of PC gamers admit to using game cheats at least once in their lifetime. This number is even higher among teenagers who play competitive games.
However, this statistic does not reflect the fact that many people have been cheating for years and have never admitted to it. In some cases, these players might even be unaware of their own behavior because they are so accustomed to playing with other cheaters. It’s a vicious cycle that only seems to perpetuate itself further over time.
Another recent study from back in 2018 found that 37% of gamers were cheating, 3% of them always cheating in every game, 9% often cheating, 13% sometimes cheating, and 12% rarely cheating.
Some of these cheats can be very difficult to detect and are explicitly designed for this purpose. For example, some aimbots (which allow players to aim at opponents automatically) will only activate when activated by the user or if there’s an enemy in their crosshairs. This makes it nearly impossible for other players who aren’t cheating themselves to know whether or not they’ve been affected by these types of programs.
This type of cheating can also be challenging to detect because it doesn’t always result in an immediate ban from competitive games, even if the cheater gets caught using one. This means that many players can get away with using cheats for years before getting banned from the game.
But, on a player to player level and a game-wide basis, why is this a problem, and what is the effect of such a culture?
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The Effect of Cheating on the Modern Multiplayer Experience
Cheating has become a problem in online games, especially those that involve competition and rewards. As more players cheat their way to victory, it can create an unfair environment for others who are playing fairly and honestly. This can lead to frustration and even burnout among honest gamers.
One of the biggest problems with PC cheats is that there are so many different types out there, and each one has its own pros or cons. Some of these cheats can be extremely useful for players, while others can be more harmful. This makes it challenging to come up with a solution that will satisfy everyone. On one hand, you have game developers who want to find a way to eliminate cheating from their games completely. While this is undoubtedly a laudable goal, it’s not always possible or practical. On the other hand, you have players who argue that cheats are an important part of the multiplayer experience and should not be discouraged or eliminated.
Ultimately, the effect of PC cheats on modern multiplayer gaming is a complex issue that requires a nuanced solution. There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument, and it’s not always clear what is best for the overall gaming community. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to find a solution that satisfies both parties. For example, one possibility might be making it harder for cheaters to access and use PC cheats in games without negatively affecting legitimate players who are just trying to have fun with their friends. This could be achieved through better detection software or by increasing the penalties for getting caught cheating.
In more recent years, another problem has come from this. With many modern games, such as Apex Legends and Fortnite, the online versions of the game have introduced Cross-Platform features. This is where PC formats and other consoles can play together. These are consoles like the Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4 and 5, and Xbox series.
Cheats are very uncommon these consoles and devices because you would physically have to buy a device to plug into your console, which is practically non-existent these days, mod your controller (which costs a lot of money), or use other forms of hardware that you’d have to set up.
As a result, console cheating is rare, but you simply have to download a piece of software and run it with PC gaming. It’s so easy to do, which means that console gamers are at a huge disadvantage because they’re already limited in how they play compared to PC gamers, even more so when you put cheats in the mix.
How are Game Devs Tackling Cheats?
Game developers are trying to eliminate cheating in their games. For example, if a player is found using cheats in Apex Legends, for instance, they will immediately get banned from playing with other people online. This means that even if you’re not caught using cheats yourself, but someone else on your team does and gets caught, then everyone who was playing with that person will be banned, too, regardless of whether or not they knew what was going on.
This can lead to frustration for other players who didn’t do anything wrong but now have been punished because someone else cheated and got caught using cheats in Apex Legends. This kind of thing is often called “collateral damage” as it unfairly punishes people who had nothing to do with the cheating.
As game developers continue to try and find ways to eliminate PC cheats, they are also working on solutions that will help legitimate players have a more fair and enjoyable experience when playing online. For example, one way that they are doing this is by increasing the penalties for getting caught cheating. This means that if you do get caught using cheats in a game, you will face harsher consequences than you would have before.
This can include things like being banned from the game entirely or losing all of your progress in the game. Developers are also working on better detection software so that it’s harder for players to cheat without getting caught. This will help to ensure that players are playing the game fairly and that no one has an unfair advantage over anyone else.
But, there’s still a long way to go. Back in February 2021, when online gaming was at an all-time high due to the stay-at-home restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, Activision tried cleaning its Call of Duty Warzone multiplayer game from hackers. In just a week, it banned over 60,000 players from its servers and perma-banned over 300,000 more a week later, but this is just one game out of many online games.
This kind of approach is expensive. Warzone devs Activision have spent a huge amount of money on anti-cheat systems, and it’s costing them such a ridiculous amount of money, which is soon broken just weeks after it’s released as devs find workarounds.
This money and time could be spent on improving the overall game experience in other ways, such as creating new content or new game modes, meaning it’s much harder for games to progress. For example, Call of Duty could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on creating a new map for players to enjoy, but if the gameplay is riddled with cheaters, why will anyone be excited to play it? Therefore, game devs will hold back and won’t bother releasing as much while simultaneously focusing on stopping the hacking problem in the first place.
Warzone isn’t the only game affected, but it’s clear that other devs are trying to figure out ways to counter the problem. Riot, a worldwide dev who created League of Legends and Valorant, is renowned for implementing an incredibly strict, bordering on controversially strict, anti-cheat system that seems to dissuade cheaters almost entirely.
Valve implemented a paywall system into Counter Strike Global Offensive that means all players have to pay to enter the competitive rank modes, putting a larger dent in the pocket of cheaters financially. However, the downside of this is that Valve then also has to shut out players who want to play without cheats but can’t afford the competitive entry fee.
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With gaming at an all-time high, cheaters are more common than ever before. With no easy fixes, and developers fighting to implement new anti-cheat systems, it could be argued that the cheaters have won. However, with so many devs trying to find a way around it, hopefully, in time, we’ll see fewer cheaters pop up or get banned altogether.
This is even more likely with the growth in the AI and machine learning sectors of technology, which may provide a solution when it comes to identifying, highlighting, and banning players who cheat, but for now, we’ll have to watch this space and the seemingly never-ending battle that’s taking place.