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Two teams were caught cheating in a recent Apex Legends tournament, according to a post made on Reddit. The post shows a screen capture of a private Discord message in which the tournament organizers describe the incident. Unsurprisingly, the two teams in question were the finalists of the event. Their subsequent disqualification made the third top team the de facto winner. We have contacted the original source for additional information and are currently awaiting their response.
Respawn recently announced they have banned 355,000 accounts from Apex Legends for using cheats. That is definitely a big stride in the right direction, but the sheer volume of banned accounts is alarming. This is especially true if you consider that the game is barely a month old.
Cheating appears to be becoming more and more common in the game. New verified cases of players using aimbots, wallhacks and other illicit software turn up every day. There are also now reported instances of bot accounts peddling hacks to other players in-game.
While the community has proposed some interesting solutions, Respawn’s stance on the matter has been blunt and uncompromising. The studio keeps banning cheaters every day. However, they are arguably not on even footing with their opponents in this battle. The issue of cheating in competitive games is very complex.
Hacks are easy to make; anti-hacks are not
Apex Legends is free, which makes banning accounts futile. On top of that, anti-hack software takes more time and resources to develop than hacks. While the infrastructures of online games are very complex and take a long time to build, hacks are designed reactively. A single vulnerability in netcode can enable the production of a variety of exploits. Whenever developers shore up one such vulnerability, hackers only need to find another to resume their operation.
And hacking software development is indeed an organized operation. Hackers have sales websites, paid subscriptions, and tech support services. They advertise themselves in embarrassingly self-unaware ways, like using DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” for their highlight videos.
Designing hacking software is easy and can be done profitably by small teams. Human nature virtually guarantees there will always be a market for it, regardless of the risks it poses to hack users. Meanwhile, Respawn must invest massive financial and human resources into their products. Like many other companies, they are not failure-proof. All they have to count on is the quality of their games.
This has so far worked out with Apex. The success of the game is undeniable, and it naturally serves to support hack developers. Much like parasitic flatworms feeding off of nutrients that a more complex and intelligent animal worked hard to acquire, hackers prosper off of the quality of Apex Legends.
The tournament-“winning” hackers reported on today are a clear indication that the war has just begun. Respawn announced a while back that they would add a report function to the game. This feature could conceivably come out alongside Apex Legends‘s Battle Pass, which is expected very soon. When it becomes available, we advise you take advantage of it.