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Overwatch players will be permanently banned if they cheat just once, Blizzard says

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"Play nice, play fair" or you won't play at all

Blizzard has issued a warning to Overwatch players: Don't cheat, even once, or you'll be permanently banned from playing the company's team-based shooter.

In a forum post on Battle.net, Blizzard outlined its policy on cheating in Overwatch and explained how players will be able to report others that they suspect of dishonest play. Blizzard emphasized that Overwatch players should "play nice; play fair" or suffer the consequences.

"If a player is found to be cheating — €”or using hacks, bots, or third-party software that provides any sort of unfair advantage — €”that player will be permanently banned from the game. Full stop," the company said. "Not only does cheating undermine the spirit of fair play that all of our products are based on, but it works to diminish the fun and enjoyment of others. While we are unlikely to publicly acknowledge when accounts are closed as a result of cheating or using unauthorized programs, we have and will continue to monitor Overwatch for exploitative behavior, as well as take action as needed to preserve the integrity of game."

Overwatch players will be able to report suspected cheaters either by emailing Blizzard at hacks@blizzard.com or through an in-game reporting tool in the Windows PC version. The company says it has already removed some players found to be cheating during the game's beta.

Blizzard notes that Overwatch's built-in replays may not be conclusive evidence for cheating, and that the developer will verify accusations of cheating through other, more reliable means.

"It's important to note that while video evidence from killcams, Plays of the Game, Highlights, and other community captured footage can be very helpful, we will never use it alone to verify whether or not cheating is taking place," Blizzard said. "As a result, we encourage players to play nice, play fair and avoid publicly accusing individuals of cheating whenever possible and instead use the reporting methods detailed above."

Overwatch will be released May 24 for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.