Last month, a team at PUBG “conducted a global investigation on all the currently active professional PUBG players” to see if any of them were using a cheat that had until recently been very hard to detect. Turns out loads of them were, and they’ve now received lengthy bans from the game.
The cheat in question, which PUBG only refer to as an “unauthorised program”, is basically a radar hack that uses a VPN to read packets of game data being sent to servers — not the game files themselves, which is why it’s been so hard to detect — and allow players to view their opponent’s location on a separate screen to the one they’re playing on.
PUBG began a huge wave of bans related to this cheat just before Christmas, booting over 30,000 players (including four pros and their teams), but earlier this week ten more professionals were caught and suspended, along with two others who while not directly involved, knew their teammates had been cheating but did nothing about it.
It’s a massive blow for PUBG’s esports scene, which the game acknowledges when it says this particular cheat “has been severely damaging the integrity of the game”.
Most of those caught face three-year bans from the game, while the European team Sans domicile fixe has lost its Contenders League sport, since two of the cheating players (and the two who knew) were from that squad. Other affected teams must replace the suspended players before being allowed to continue in competition.
Going forwards, PUBG says that prior to future competitions “all participating players will go through a comprehensive background check on all their accounts, and any player with incriminating evidence of having used an unauthorised program will be suspended and prevented from competing.”
Here’s PUBG’s statement on the December bans:
Competitive Ruling: Multiple Players
Christian “Cuhris” Narvaez
Liam “Liammm” Tran
Tyler “DevowR” Sti
Mark “Tefl0n” Formaro pic.twitter.com/qqPFBy05Yy
— PUBG Esports (@PUBGEsports) December 31, 2018
While a breakdown on the January bans can be found here.