From PUBG to Valorant, more and more hackers get caught, how big a problem is hacking in eSports?

From PUBG to Valorant, more and more hackers get caught, how big a problem is hacking in eSports?: PUBG Mobile has been taking drastic steps to spot cheaters in the game. Players using third-party applications have been awarded bans, and timely reports have been updated. However, when it happens at a competitive stage, players start questioning the integrity of official tournaments. This time around, PUBG Mobile Esports has banned 7 teams and two individual players for using third-party applications and using different identifications.

The initial statement by PUBG Esports read, “In our regular investigation to fight cheaters and provide fair competition in our official tournaments, players in the following teams were found to be using prohibited third-party software. As this is a clear violation of our code of conduct, the teams have been disqualified from the tournament. The teams will not be replaced, and the PMCO will continue as planned with the remaining teams.”

This is not the first incident when a team or multiple teams have been disqualified from a tournament for using third-party applications, but this is turning into a concern for a growing community. India is not a part of this year’s PMCO regional stage but the country has faced a lot of backlash for its eSports athletes being a part of such illegal and unethical acts. Last year’s PMCO saw the disqualification of Indian teams since many of them were caught hacking. However, this problem is not restricted to one eSport. Games like Valorant have also been affected very recently. It is a sad state of affairs since the game is not even a year old.

What went down in ESPL Valorant PowerUp?

A whole cheating, account sharing fiasco surrounding Team Paratroops recently came to light when a player from Team Paratroops was caught using hacks. During a regulation scanning, it was found Abhay ‘Xhade’ Urkude was using hacks. However, it was outside the game, and he justified it by saying that he used these hacks to reach a radiant rank in Valorant.  ESPL Valorant PowerUp and production partner, Skyesports has taken the offence very seriously and issued respective statements. Xhades has now been issued a permanent ban, at least till further notice, and Teams Paratroops have been banned for 3 months from any and all Skyesports tournaments and leagues. Adding to this, Mithul ‘Binks’ Nayak has also been presented with a 3 months ban for account sharing.

Shiva Nandy, CEO, Skyesports said “There should be a strong regulation from Publishers and ban the hackers permanently so that gamers won’t even think of hacking. Recently RIOT’s ban system has come out strong where if you are found hacking, you may end up getting a hardware ban. This is a good move.”

Ankit Panth, a prominent name in the Indian eSports scene has come out and asked for his follower, fellow eSports athletes to refrain from cheating, “If you think you will be successful in the scene by cheating and hacking, then you would only gain temporary success,” says Panth.

“You might temporarily get a lot of fans, fame and sponsors, but all of that will be temporary. When you get caught, it will only take a second for all of this to go, and the backlash would be unbearable,” he adds.

What is the way out?

Various esports organisations and developers have been taking measures to deal with hackers. In the process to deal with hackers, in-game bans, ID bans, and even hardware bans were proposed, and now are being implemented. Riot Games, the developers of Valorant have said that people engaging in unethical activities will get penalised in-gam in the form of lowered ranking and temporary bans.

What started with word.exe at the eXTREMESLAND 2018 Asia Finals has now moved on to more serious problems. The number of hackers has increased and so has the race to beat the hackers. However, what could happen in the upcoming tournament is– thorough hardware-software inspection, and with it– a ban for a longer time. Would this stop hackers? Only time will tell. But is this a short term solution? Most definitely.

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