H1Z1 Cheaters Forced To Publicly Apologise In ‘Unbanning Experiment’

H1Z1 Cheaters Forced To Publicly Apologise In ‘Unbanning Experiment’

23,837 players were banned on Monday for cheating in H1Z1. Some players want to come back, but there’s a price tag for grace: you have to publicly admit you cheated and apologise on YouTube.

H1Z1 is an online survival zombie game, as so many games are these days. This one comes from Daybreak Game Company, which used to be Sony Online Entertainment, before it was spun off.

If you’ve ever followed company president John Smedley on Twitter, you know he’s surprisingly honest for a game executive. For example, a tweet about H1Z1 cheaters from earlier this month:

This tug-of-war between players cheaters, and the game’s creators has been going on for months, and it’s nothing exclusive to H1Z1. All online games have to deal with people trying to break the system and ruin the fun for other people. But I’ve hardly seen an executive talk so openly about the process, including proposing a way for people to come back to the game.

“Dear Cheaters who got banned. Many of you are emailing me, apologizing and admitting it. Thank you. However.. You’re doing it wrong. If you want us to even consider your apology a public YouTube apology is necessary. No personal information please. Email me the link. And I will tweet it. Please be sure not to reveal any info. That’s important. Not trying to do anything other than highlight a serious issue.”

Surprisingly enough, people started taking Smedley up on the offer. Here’s the first one, which comes from a player who’d spend hundreds of dollars on the game:

I was recently banned in H1Z1 for cheating. I frequently used TMC [a cheat program] to avoid enemy players and, ultimately, I was cheating, and I paid the price for it with an account that I put $US200 into it — buying stuff out of the crates, the crate keys, [I] even upgraded to the collector’s edition of the game. It definitely sucks that I lost my account.   I’d like to take this public forum to apologise to all the players that I negatively impacted their gameplay with and to Daybreak for kind of ruining the game experience for other players. Know that I will not be cheating again because that just cost me about $US260. Again, I’m really sorry. I felt it was necessary, but fortunately, it bit me in the arse. Cheers.

Some players started emailing Smedley directly, but he pushed back on this tactic:

Here’s another one:

I got banned for cheating in H1Z1. My explanation? I got tired of all the no clippers and speedhackers and aimbotters and everybody running around. After 600 hours in the game, I just really felt like I had no other options. It’s not a justification, merely an explanation.   Sorry for anybody in the community who I may have ruined the experience for. It’s definitely much more entertaining to play without. It’s an advantage but it’s no fun. Hopefully, anybody that’s seed the ban wave, you’ll see that Daybreak takes cheating seriously. You should just avoid it. You risk losing your account like I did.   Once again, I apologise to everybody in the community, who my actions may have affected. It wasn’t the right thing to do. I understand any hate I receive. It wasn’t the right thing to do. Hopefully, this really just serves as a warning and a piece of advice to anyone planning on cheating: don’t do it, it’s not worth it, just enjoy the game it was meant to be. Thanks for your time.

Daybreak was accepting apologies until just a little while ago and it’s unclear how many people the company will ultimately choose to unban, as a result of this experiment.

So far, though, Smedley says he’s not impressed.

“I’ll give you my perspective,” he wrote on Reddit. “So far we’ve unbanned 3 people out of 30k we’ve now banned. One of which is probably about to get re-banned for taking his video private. I want to make sure it’s clear there are consequences for cheating. You don’t just get to make a video and get unbanned. This is a very limited time thing to try and raise awareness of what’s actually going on.

“You may say ‘hey there clearly aren’t consequences if you are unbanning people.’ Let’s get back to the part where I said we’ve unbanned 3 people. If these videos go far and wide and it elevates the importance of getting rid of the cheaters in PC gaming, I feel it’s an excellent trade.”

Smedley predicts it might be only 4 or 5 people who are unbanned by the end of it.


  • Sick, let’s all start cheating. Let’s all ruin the fun for everyone and make people quit with our cheats, then say sorry so we can come back because we spent a few bucks on this free game.

    • “I’ll give you my perspective,” he wrote on Reddit. “So far we’ve unbanned 3 people out of 30k we’ve now banned. One of which is probably about to get re-banned for taking his video private. I want to make sure it’s clear there are consequences for cheating.”

      See, my read on this is that it isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get unbanned just because you posted a video.

  • Good on them, I stopped playing so many online games purely because I got sick of people playing with cheats. And yes the guy who made it private again needs to be re-banned. The point is to shame them and you cant do that if you cant see the video

  • Definitely love what Smedley is doing.
    It’s not the easy thing, but its the right thing.
    There should be zero tolerance for cheating.
    I’m against the forgiveness thing- but I accept the reason why he’s doing it.
    The reason I’m against it is that people (adults) know what they’re doing when they download a cheat. They know they’re breaking the rules and screwing over other people. It’s like being a shoplifter. You may have started as a customer, but when you steal you become a thief. You can’t turn around then expect to be a customer again- that’s gone.

  • Exactly what we all suspected cheaters to look like! Fat, Doritos infused, Mountain Dew drinking low IQ idiots! These videos just confirm it! Assholes! I’d make them apologize, then still ban their account mmmwhahahahaha

    • Would stop anyone from apologizing at all…. I actually think they’re quite clever for doing this. If you’re going to abuse the game, you get it taken away from you. If you want it back? Grovel! Like babies and candy.

  • Pretty much stopped playing this because of the hackers.

    Might start up again but desire to do so is pretty much gone now

  • I personally think the name and shame approach is brilliant. If it gives them a chance to be unbanned, and redeem themselves then great! But everyone needs to know who they are and what they did, and it needs to be very public! Hopefully R* follows this approach. I think it will be many, many more than 30k players with GTA Online though….

  • its a shame they dont make cheats do this with every game could you just imagine the vids from players from world of warcraft after they used and exploit to kill a boss faster. now that would be pure gold to watch

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