Latest Chinese government crackdown focuses on… PUBG?

A recent report from Bloomberg News has revealed that Tencent, one of the distributors of the incredibly popular Battle Royale game Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, have managed to enlist the assistance of Chinese police in their war against cheaters.

According to the report, Tencent has managed to nab at least 30 cases and arest more than 100 people suspected of creating programs explicitly designed to give certain players unfair advantages in the increasingly popular Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds—otherwise known as being filthy cheaters.

This includes cheats that allow for x-ray vision and the ever-present aimbots, alongside more esoteric cheats such as “extreme shadow”, which conceal players and gives them a birds-eye view of the battlefield. This latter cheat can be purchased for as little as 100 yuan, or USD$15.

However, cheaters could face an even more significant price to pay, considering that should they be accused and convicted, they could face serious jail time of up to nine years. China takes cheaters seriously, it seems.

“You could come up with something effective today, but encounter something completely different the next day.”

The fact that it is the Chinese government that has become involved is particularly interesting, considering that the majority of PUBG’s playerbase (now a total of 27.6 million people) is centred in China, according to SteamSpy. In comparison to this, the United States’ player population of a mere 8 million seems pretty small.

And it may remain small, unless significant steps are taken to combat cheaters. Attempts to curb cheating in other Tencent games have been described as “a never-ending battle” by division head Allen Zhang.

“You could come up with something effective today, but encounter something completely different the next day,” he continued.

Read more: Gamer mum hits back at lawsuit from Fortnite developers—aimed at her 14-year-old son

Alongside the new government assistance, software methods have been employed to curb the rampant cheating. Brendan Greene, the eponymous Playerunknown, said to Polygon that the integration of an automated banning system has cut down hacking in the game by about 67.5 per cent, according to his estimates.

“We’re seeing progress, and this is something we’re going to continue doing because we want to provide a competitive platform and a fair place for people to play in,” Greene said.

All that’s left to do is sit back and ask a simple question: which is more likely to deter a cheater; a police raid and jail time, or an automated software system?

Only time will tell.


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