Many PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds players blame the game's cheating problem on China. They're not wrong, says the popular battle royale game's creator Brendan Greene.
"Around 99 per cent of cheats in the game right now are coming out of China," Greene told Kotaku by phone. "There's a massive cheat market not just in China, but around the world. But it's seen as kind of a little bit more acceptable to cheat in games in China. Also geographically, they just have a lot more people than anywhere else in the world."
While PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, long available via Early Access, has now officially "launched," it's still got a murder purgatory island of ongoing issues to contend with. Some, like server troubles, are just a matter of polish. The game's cheating problem, however, is a tougher nut to crack.
Some players who've encountered a large number of cheaters have gone on to call for things as drastic as bans of Chinese players from other regions' servers, using language that borders on xenophobic to do so. Despite the prevalence of Chinese cheat programs and players, however, Greene said he can't get behind that mentality.
"I don't think that's a good idea at all," he said. "Yes, the majority of cheats come out of China, but that doesn't mean all Chinese players are cheaters. This idea that just because you've got a few bad eggs, you've gotta ban a whole country is a bit reactive."
On the whole, Greene said, PUBG's Chinese community is "very strong." "They love the game," he said. "Why would we restrict them from playing on servers? I just don't get the attitude of some people."
Moreover, Greene said, whittling away at cheaters' numbers isn't as cut-and-dry of a process as some players would like it to be. He pointed out that new anti-cheat systems have already cut down on the number of cheaters in the game by around 67 per cent in the past couple months, but the battle is far from over. Right now, he said, the team is training new automated systems that will be able to more accurately and quickly catch cheaters in the act once they go live, by using "statistics and various other things."
"These systems are still being built and trained, but there is plan to get Battlegrounds to be really competitive so that you don't come across a lot of cheaters at all," he said.
For now, Greene says, if you see somebody cheating, report them. "If you tell me you've seen 50 cheaters over the course of a day, I hope you've gone to the forums and reported it," said Greene. "We look at the numbers, we look at the reports we get, and if people encounter cheaters, report them."
"If you don't, we can't do anything about it."
Correction 23/12: While Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene says that the majority of cheats are from China, the specific figure he cited was from Battleye, an anti-cheat provider, which we earlier omitted from this story. We apologise for the error.