It's nothing new to say that cheaters and hackers are responsible for ruining online gaming experiences - second only to obnoxious pre-teens with headsets. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was crippled by a number of game-breaking hacks and cheats that would give less-honorable players a significant leg-up in competitive matches.
As a result, it's no surprise that, at the risk of angry die-hards and negative PR, many game companies now routinely exercise their ban-hammer rights - in addition to updates and patches. Leading the charge is Infinity Ward's latest military outing, Modern Warfare 3, which is hammering especially scandalous players with a 5,000 day ban from the game servers.
Initial reports of lengthy Modern Warfare 3 bans gained momentum after a screen grab of the error showed-up over at MP1st. According to Infinity Ward creative strategist, Robert Bowling, who took to Twitter in response, the 5,000 day ban (which shows up as an error message when trying to connect to the Modern Warfare 3 servers) is for all intents and purposes a permanent ban from MW3 online play.
http://fzt.me/5000dayban #MW3 Player Banned for 5000 days?! Yes. If you see this message, it means you've been Permabanned (for something bad)
The ban length of 5,000 days calculates out to be around 13 years - and while it's conceivable that, after the allotted time, a gamer could return to play Modern Warfare 3, it's unlike that the servers will still be online after all the time. Not to mention, with so many other titles likely available in 2024, players will have probably already learned their lesson and will be enjoying Modern Warfare 9, instead.
No doubt affected players will claim they have been wrongfully accused, or just cut their losses and sign-in with a different screen name; however, Infinity Ward's aggressive approach should put a noticeable dent in the amount of shady online players. Plenty of games now offer online functionality and, unless studios can find compelling ways of shutting down cheaters and hackers, it's possible that we'll see a point where the cost of multiplayer outweighs the benefit - as new gamers might be even less likely to test the waters of online play and returning players might just look to another online shooter to play instead.
Studios can't merely rely on online gaming, alone, as a selling point - the community and gameplay both have to offer a superior experience in order to make the time spent worthwhile.
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Modern Warfare 3 is available now for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.