The new anti-cheat campaign started in December and appears to have been aimed at players using more subtle and hard to detect cheats. The bans were handed out in December, according to unofficial reports, but PUBG Corp only went public this week when the bans came into effect.
Four of the alleged cheats belonged to the Sans Domicile team, which has subsequently lost its Contenders League spot. It will only be allowed to re-apply to participate in future events once it has built-up an entirely new team.
The cheat software alleged to have been used sniffs game data packets being sent to servers, but is run on a secondary device, relaying the information via a smartphone or second PC. This makes it particularly hard to detect.
The software can highlight the location of opponents, as well as key items on the map, which presumably includes air drops and coverted sniper rifles.
“Users of two biggest radar hack developer groups confirmed bans for the usage of the previously undetectable hacks,” VieSports reported before Christmas.
News of the bans had filtered out in recent weeks, but had not been confirmed by PUBG Corp until this week.
The pro players were first identified as having used cheat software as regular players, according to a PUBG eSports statement.
“Through a global investigation of currently active competitive [pro] PUBG players, we discovered that ten players have received in-game bans due to the usage of an unauthorised program, the type of which has been severely damaging the integrity of the game of PUBG,” the company tweeted.
It continued: “We verified that the evidence for every ban is indeed conclusive, and that there is no grounds to assume any of the banned accounts had been hijacked or borrowed at the time the unauthorised program was used.
“Among the ten banned players, the logs also indicate that six of them also utilised the same unauthorised program in online professional matches.”
Six players identified as having used cheat software in pro matches have been banned for three years, while the players identified as having only used cheat software in public games have been handed two-year bans.
Members of of the Sans Domicile team who apparently knew about the cheating by their team mates have also been suspended, while the Red Diamonds and Pittsburgh Knights have been obliged to replace a team member each.
All will no doubt now have to go out and get proper jobs.
“In the future, before any official eSports competition, 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,” the PUB eSports missive concluded.
PUBG has suffered as a result of widespread use of cheats since it entered early access in March 2017. While the company has introduced new anti-hacking software and encourages players to report suspected cheating, it still suffers from a belief that cheating is widespread.
The anti-cheat software introduced progressively throughout 2018 has helped to clampdown on the most egregious cheating, such as aimbots and speed hacks, but suspicions remain that more subtle and harder to detect cheating remains widespread.
It’s not just PUBG that suffers with cheating, but pretty much all online gaming.