The practice of “cheating” in video games has been around for nearly as long as the industry itself. Many games over the years have even turned cheat codes into an integral part of the gaming experience, completely embracing the practice as a fundamental element to playing games.
With the push towards online multiplayer gaming, achievements, and leaderboards, cheat codes have all but disappeared from most modern titles. While there’s nothing wrong with using cheats in single-player games, and many wish they’d have a resurgence, it’s not right to cheat in online multiplayer titles, which is a major part of why cheats have become less and less prominent in video games.
As the popularity of online multiplayer gaming continues to grow, cheating is becoming more of a problem. For example, it takes one look at the state of older Call of Duty games to see that they’re running rampant with those exploiting the game to fly around the map or become invincible. To counteract the cheaters out there, developers and publishers running their own servers have the ability to ban their accounts and prevent them from further disrupting the experience for others.
When it comes to popular digital marketplace and gaming platform Steam, however, developers have not traditionally had the power to outright ban cheaters from their online multiplayer games. That changes now, as Valve has updated Steam to give developers the right to institute bans on anyone that is caught cheating online.
Valve’s reasoning behind this update is simple. “Playing games should be fun.” Players that cheat in online multiplayer games are greatly disrupting the experience for those that are attempting to play legitimately, and this new system will let developers detect and ban players taking advantage of these unofficial exploits or cheats.
Once a cheater has been rooted out, the developer of the game will then have the option to inform Valve of the perpetrator. Valve will then go through with banning the person from playing the game online. “The game developer is solely responsible for the decision to apply a game ban. Valve only enforces the game ban as instructed by the game developer.”
This marks just the latest major change to Steam in recent weeks. Before this, Valve decided to allow the modding community to sell their work for a profit, starting with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This proved to be a very controversial decision, to the point that those participating in the program began receiving death threats.
That being said, allowing developers to ban cheating Steam players is not likely to draw the same amount of controversy as paid mods. Unless developers begin significantly abusing the power, expect this particular Steam addition to be a permanent fixture for the service in the years to come.