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PUBG anti-cheat maker banned a million players in January alone

‘Unfortunately things continue to escalate’

PUBG Corp.
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Anti-cheat software provider BattleEye said it banned more than one million players from the PC version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in January. According to its Twitter account, that’s more than two-thirds the number of cheaters that were banned in all of 2016.

“We have banned over 1,044,000 PUBG cheaters in January alone,” BattleEye said on Twitter. “Unfortunately things continue to escalate.”

BattleEye describes itself as the “gold-standard” in anti-cheat software. Founded in 2004, it’s been used to protect games in the Battlefield and the Arma series, including Battlefield 1942 and DayZ. It’s a proactive solution, meaning that it actively searches for unwelcome software on players’ computers. Using data collected from BattleEye, developers and publishers are able to enact both SteamID and account-based global bans.

According to the data released on Twitter, cheating is rising dramatically in Battlegrounds. The acceleration began in October. At that time, a total of 322,000 cheaters had been banned from the game, more than double the number that had been banned in the seven months previous. BattleEye said at the time that they were banning players at a rate of between 6,000 and 13,000 per day.

If January’s figures are accurate, the current rate is approaching 33,700 bans per day, or one every 2.56 seconds.

In November, PUBG Corp. signed an agreement with megacorp Tencent to publish Battlegrounds in China. Since then, Battlegrounds has taken off in that country. According to Steamspy, Chinese users make up more than 47 percent of the game’s player base. Complaints about the level of cheating in the game have been on the rise, both on social media and in the game’s forums on Steam, with many players requesting that players in China be segregated to their own servers. On Reddit, many users are beginning to wonder if the bans being handed out are an effective deterrent.

Polygon has reached out to PUBG Corp. for comment.

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