EA Takes the Fight to Cheaters

EA is exploring the use of software to crack down on "teaming" and other unsportsmanlike collusion, according to Exputer. The innovative idea is understandable given cheaters spring up like weeds, but it’s also potentially cause for unease. 

The Proposal
The patent suggests an algorithm that would analyze social and in-game relationships, as well as interactions, to determine if players are improperly teaming up. For example, in a free-for-all battle royale, EA could use lobby and post-game chats to determine if players improperly worked together. The killer feature, so to speak, would be the complete automation with no need for direct human involvement (read: saving money on hiring.)

  • It’s worth noting that companies file patents that go nowhere all the time
  • EA could also be developing this feature to license out
Technology Cuts Both Ways
Cheating can be a major thorn in the side of gaming. This is especially true given the rapidly growing role of betting and esports, where large sums of money are gambled on the assumption that results are not rigged.
  • Cheating can also drive away players, as Activision found out with the original Warzone
It’s worth noting, however, that much like real sports, the solutions aren’t clear cut.
  • Cheat creators will always have a head start against those trying to crack down
  • Banning thousands of accounts isn’t a great look for publishers wanting to flaunt user stats
  • Making it harder to create accounts for cheating isn’t popular with gamers, who don’t want additional requirements such as registering a phone number to play
No Silver Bullet
EA’s proposal could be effective, but it also brings risks. Will a company – say one notorious for milking franchises like FIFA – be able to resist the siren call of using data collected to stop cheating for marketing or non-anti-cheat purposes? Ultimately, it comes back to the same problem plaguing social media moderation: Policing bad behavior still requires a staff and expertise, and that’s not cheap.
Image courtesy of EA