Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, a popular PUBG Twitch streamer known for his skilled play and quick reflexes, recently played alongside a hacker. When fans noticed the hacker on Shroud’s stream and shared clips on social media, it sparked debate over what to do about top players fraternising with cheaters.
The video clip circulating around PUBG’s community shows Shroud and fellow streamer Wadu playing alongside a random hacker who is not part of their squad. The hacker flies cars around, using them to create makeshift barricades inside houses. Later, the hacker helps the pair of streamers by shuttling them through the air towards the next playzone.
At one point, the hacker stops at a house and informs them that a player is inside. Shroud enters and kills the player.
“I actually sell these cheats for for a living,” the hacker says before Shroud quickly shushes them. The pair fly off in the hacker’s car. Shroud jumps out over a river but dies upon impact with the water.
Viewers have pulled Twitch clips of the incident, but the original archived stream is unavailable.
Shroud’s Twitch channel boasts over 3 million subscribers, and his near-legendary PUBG skills have made him the de facto face of the game for fans. His popularity has also earned him an in-game shout-out; last month, PUBG added limited-time weapon skins inspired by Shroud and fellow Twitch star Dr Disrespect.
Kotaku reached out to both PUBG Corp and Shroud but did not receive comment in time for publication.
High profile streamers have faced bans for breaching the game’s rules before. In July last year, Dr Disrespect received a temporary suspension after prominently teamkilling during a livestream. The incident prompted a response from designer Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene, who said, “In my house, you follow the rules or you GTFO.”
Hacking has resulted in bans, and players have faced disciplinary actions for teaming up with enemy players.
PUBG has always struggled with hackers that jump into games to mess with legitimate players and show off their cheats to prospective buyers.
The game uses an anti-cheat system called BattlEye, which was first used in 2004’s Battlefield Vietnam. The anti-cheat provider has kept the public informed about how many players they’ve banned from the battle royale, announcing in February that the number had reached 1,044,000 players.
Hackers remain prevalent in the game, however, and BattlEye sometimes flags innocent players, too.
Seeing one of the game’s top players cruise around with hackers has left the community split on whether or not disciplinary action is warranted or if this is just a natural result of PUBG Corps’ struggles to optimise the game and cut down on hackers.
As PUBG struggles to find a place in a changing battle royale market, many players have expressed frustration that the game can’t provide a smooth gameplay experience.
“Bluehole has let things go to absolute fuck while they ask players to spend more money and release more cosmetics,” a Reddit poster said. “Shroud is just reflecting the overall player base’s feelings towards the current state of the game.”
“Do we even blame him at this point,” said another post. “Blueballs deserves this. This cheat has been in PUBG for how long? Half a year?”
Other players are sceptical that Shroud will face any consequences at all.
“Shroud’s too big now for Bluehole to be punishing him or ban him,” one Redditor said. “PUBG isn’t where they are at a year ago so Shroud can basically do whatever the fuck he wants to.”