Backbytes: Apex Legends shows how to deal with online gaming cheats - make them play each other

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Screenshot from the online multiplayer game Apex Legends
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Screenshot from the online multiplayer game Apex Legends

Respawn Entertainment comes up with cunning plan to deal with cheats

Apex Legends, the online multiplayer video game popular with the kids (after they got bored of Fortnite), has implemented an innovative, new anti-cheat measure: rather than banning cheats, it will tweak its match-making algorithms to make them play with each other, instead.

The measure is one of a number revealed on Reddit by Jay Frechette, a community manager at the game's developer, Respawn Entertainment.

Cheat tools are the bane of online multiplayer games. While paid-for games, such as PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), naturally impose a cost on cheats when they are banned, they invariably buy a new copy with a new account and carry on as before. With free games, like Apex Legends and Fortnite, even this modest deterrence is absent.

As a result, cheats can be back ruining other people's games within minutes of any ban.

Furthermore, the move to dump all the cheats together in their own games will also extend to players who don't use cheat tools themselves, but habitually play with people who do. They should, at least, find themselves in good company.

Apex Legends was launched with little fanfare earlier this year by publisher Electronic Arts, who appear to have been taken by surprise by the game's popularity. With no prior announcement or marketing the game garnered some 25 million players on Windows PCs, PlayStation 4 and Xbox in its first week, and 50 million in its first month.

The game involves approximately sixty players in squads of three pitted against each other on an island battle ground. In the usual ‘Battle Royale' style, players have to scavenge for the best weapons and other resources they can find, before fighting to the death against the other squads.

However, the game's popularity has also quickly declined in recent months, partly due to complaints of rampant cheating. Typical cheat tools include ‘wall hacks', which reveal the precise location of other players, and aimbots, which home in on the nearest opposing player when the cheat opens fire.

While it might seem like a waste of time, when your kids could be brushing up on astro-physics or learning Swahili, a number of research papers have suggested that online multiplayer games can improve office productivity, while games like Minecraft could help get the ‘creative juices' flowing.

The World Health Organisation, nevertheless, has decided to categorise ‘gaming disorder' as a mental health condition.

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