PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has enjoyed an incredible first year both critically and commercially with high player counts and an expansion to Xbox One. With great adaptability comes immense challenges, however, which have reared their head in the form of rampant cheating within the game. Developer Bluehole has committed significant time to battling the influx of cheaters and hackers, so much that game updates have been pushed back in the past due to the channeling of staff to anti-cheating efforts.
The company announced Friday through a Steam update that those efforts have now reached the level of legal action with the arrest of 15 suspects for “developing and selling hacking/cheating programs that affect PUBG.” According to Bluehole, some of the hacking programs in question included a Trojan Horse virus that allowed violators “to control users’ PC, scan their data and extract information illegally.” The 15 suspects who have been arrested to date have also received fines totaling in excess of $5 million.
The update explains:
15 major suspects including “OMG”, “FL”, “[Firefox]”, “[Suya]” and “[Yanhuang]” were arrested for developing hack programs, hosting marketplaces for hack programs, and brokering transactions. Currently the suspects have been fined approximately 30mil RNB ($5.1mil USD). Other suspects related to this case are still being investigated. Some hack programs that are being distributed through the internet includes a Huigezi Trojan horse*(Chinese backdoor) virus. It was proven that hack developers used this virus to control users’ PC, scan their data, and extract information illegally.
Much of the concern around the rampant cheating within PUBG centered on suspected malignant code concealed within hacking programs, and Bluehole has now confirmed the existence of such damaging programs being utilized. This first round of arrests and fines won’t be the last as more suspects are currently being investigated and Bluehole isn’t close to ending its campaign against the game’s hacker community. “We’ll continue to crack down on hacking/cheating programs (and their creators) until our players are free to battle it out in a totally fair environment,” said the company.