Blizzard Entertainment is most well-known for its Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo gaming properties, but more recently the developer made a splash with the team-based multiplayer first-person shooter called Overwatch.
At last count in January, the game hadworldwide. As with all online multiplayer games, some players cheat, and Blizzard is dealing with a particularly serious cheating problem in Korea right now. The company’s response to that is the recent banning of 22,865 players who had been found to be using various third-party software to gain an unfair advantage in the game.
Asmakes clear, the problem for Blizzard is the fact these bans don’t really mean much due to the way in which gamers in Korea play Overwatch.
In the US, the game costs US$40 to US$60 and receiving a ban means you’d have to go out and purchase another copy and start again. In Korea, it’s much more common to pay by the hour to play at one of the many gaming centres, known as ‘‘. In most major Asia cities, they are simply known as cyber-cafes.
Blizzard allows these operations to pay for access to the game across all their PCs and they then charge players a fee per hour.
With that in mind, visitors to these centres don’t really care about being banned. They haven’t lost any money buying the game as they only purchase time to play it. So they can just start over with a new account and use the same cheating software until they get banned again.
The only way such bans have any impact is if they happen quickly. Blizzard would need to detect the cheat and throw them out of the game within a matter of minutes of them starting to play. The frustration of not being able to enjoy the game would then hopefully be greater than the temptation to cheat.