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What is the state of boosting and cheating in video games in 2020?

Gamers will always want to have a shortcut available, and it seems that developers will use that to make more profit.

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Image: Activision

Video games are in their core nature competitive with those come players who want to progress faster or gain an edge over their competition. 

If you played any multiplayer video game, you’ve at some point met a cheater. Anything from teleportation to magic bullets heading your way, cheating has been a problem for developers for some time. Cheating in video games has gone through many forms, and some of the methods are very creative.

For years, game companies tried to tackle the issue, leaving us with stories like Jarvis Khattri. He received a lifetime ban because he uploaded a video of him using an aimbot in the battle arena shooter Fortnite. Even though the gameplay session in the video was not in an official match, nor did he encourage his fans to cheat, he still destroyed any chance of moving up in the esports scene in the eyes of Riot Games. 

Hacking is not just something that average gamers do; cheating can be found far at pro tournaments. In 2018 the VAC caught a professional player on the Extremesland Zowie Asia CS: GO 2018 tournament. The team was shamefully booted from the competition, and their reputation dwindled at the moment.

Vanguard is the name of the anti-cheat system that is being developed by Riot Games. They are explicitly designing a system that will use AI to detect aimbots (next to other methods) and block the users’ ability to try to cheat again. The team for the upcoming shooter Valorant will install a live kernel on the users’ computer that needs to be running so you can run the game. Developers are doing their best to stop shady gamers, but the exact data on how many people cheat or in how many games is difficult to measure.

Cheats do have a long history in gaming, from the Konami Code that was a universal power or a level up in NES games to the assistant mode in Super Mario Odyssey, where you can turn on a driver assistant to go through the race smoother. We have seen various examples of XP boosts in different Call of Duty iterations, Assasins Creeds, or any new game with a progression system. Pay up and level up faster, which is in the basic principle, cheating for money. The line is blurred today, and one can argue for both sides that the aforementioned “cheating” makes games more accessible for some gamers. 

Cheating or the need to progress faster seems widespread in the gaming community. But to go from more aggressive actions of cheating that include software as aimbots, lag switches, or world hacking, boosting on the other is being subtly ignored by game developers and is seen as a grey zone method to progress in a video game. 

Boosting can be as simple as colluding in multiplayer matches with the supposing team to unlock achievements or trophies. Boosting has become a business and a business opportunity for some, from World of Warcraft “nannies” that will help you in real-time with your leveling and questing to buying accounts that were built up for sale. These are players who want to overcome the hurdle of playing.

Services like GameDeals24 offer customized player accounts with custom specifications and instant delivery. Automated systems and whole networks of people are behind projects like that one, and all they want to do is to provide an immediate gratification shortcut to someone who does not want to grind or spend time in the game. 

It seems natural that services like this exist as the gaming landscape has changed drastically over the last couple of years. 

The freemium model thrives on taking time from players, and games are excessively designed with these concepts. Designing games that turn a significant profit has become a science for itself, and you can check out this blog post by Think with Google on the type of mobile games and get a glimpse of how deep is the rabbit hole. The extent of how games are, at the same time, geared towards casuals and to hardcore games which can get addicted is impressive, to say at least.

With all in mind, gamers will always want to have a shortcut available, and it seems that developers will use that to make more profit. We can only hope that players will be aware of and responsible for managing their time and money dedicated to gaming.

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