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Cheating is not a mere fun-killer; it's a significant and escalating concern for the entire gaming community.

Loreta Chilingaryan

November 13, 2023

4 Min Read

Cheating in the world of gaming has been around since forever.

It's like that annoying sibling who always tries to peek at your cards during a board game. But unlike it, cheating is not a mere fun-killer; it's a significant and escalating concern for the entire gaming community.

Recent studies have unveiled alarming statistics: 72% of multiplayer gamers have witnessed toxic behaviour, and a troubling 68% have been subjected to it themselves.

This not only robs players of their enjoyment but also significantly impacts the revenues and reputations of gaming companies, deterring new players hesitant to join the game.

To tackle this issue, numerous anti-cheat solutions have emerged over time. These tools are crafted to combat the sly cheating methods that continue to surface and to ensure a fair gaming experience. In this article, we will examine the top anti-cheat solutions available today.

We will delve into their capabilities and assess their effectiveness, identifying five robust solutions suitable for implementation in 2024.

1. Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC)

Easy Anti-Cheat has been a trusted name in the gaming industry for over a decade and continues to be one of the most widely adopted anti-cheat solutions. Developed by Epic Games, EAC boasts real-time monitoring and detection capabilities that swiftly identify and remove cheats, hacks, and unauthorised modifications. Its versatility allows it to seamlessly integrate into a wide array of games on different platforms, making it a favoured choice among developers and publishers.

Pros:

  • EAC is free, and it provides a generous three-year notice if it ever transitions to a paid service.

  • It features a user-friendly admin panel, simplifying integration.

  • EAC offers actionable analytics, aiding gaming companies in making informed decisions.

Cons:

  • EAC lacks AI modules, which may limit its effectiveness against AI-powered cheating bots.

  • It doesn't offer dedicated monitoring services to detect specific in-game cheats and hacks.

  • EAC has currently suspended support services, offering clients its knowledge sources instead of the real-time support options.

2. SARD Anti-Cheat

SARD Anti-Cheat may be a newcomer to the gaming cybersecurity landscape, but it has deep roots in "Frost Security", where the core team of SARD was dedicated to crafting gaming cybersecurity solutions.

SARD Anti-Cheat combines kernel-based protection methods with innovative AI and ML modules, delivering a multi-layered security solution. SARD stands out with its highly customizable toolkit, allowing game developers to tailor the protection to the unique requirements of each of their games.  Furthermore, SARD Anti-Cheat offers a 3-month free trial period, giving game developers ample time to assess its effectiveness before making a purchase decision.

Pros:

  • Application of AI and ML modules ensures comprehensive protection, extending defence against even the most innovative cheats and bots.

  • SARD offers customised solutions, enabling the game client to tailor protection to the specific game needs.

  • Premium customer support is available.

  • It offers free services to small games to support fair gaming.

  • SARD maintains a false positive rate of under 0.001%, preserving game integrity with minimal impact on gameplay.

Cons:

  • SARD exclusively caters to PC games.

  • SARD offers paid services, with free options limited to small-scale games only.

3. BattlEye

BattlEye is another veteran in the anti-cheat arena. Its protective kernel-based solution employs both specific and heuristic/generic detection techniques to maximise its effectiveness. BattlEye employs a combination of behavioural analysis, signature-based, and heuristic detection methods to counter various hacks and cheats that could threaten the integrity of a game.

Pros:

  • BattlEye offers customizable solutions.

  • Employs a proactive kernel-based defence system that swiftly and continuously scans the player's system for threats.

Cons:

  • It lacks AI modules.

  • Customer support is limited mainly focusing on relevant documentation and FAQ section.

4. nProtect GameGuard

nProtect GameGuard is another popular anti-cheat solution, particularly well-received in Korea. This solution offers client protection and prevents hacking to establish a secure online gaming environment. nProtect GameGuard provides B2B2C security services to both online game companies and portals.

Advantages:

  • nProtect GameGuard offers protection and real-time analysis of detected issues.

  • Provides 1:1 technical support by game to address any problems.

Disadvantages:

  • nProtect GameGuard lacks AI modules.

  • There are numerous reports of a high false positive rate.

  • There are claims of it affecting system performance.

5. Valve Anti-Cheat

Valve Anti-Cheat, also known as VAC, is a sophisticated and widely used anti-cheat system developed by Valve Corporation, the company behind the popular Steam platform and a range of titles. VAC bans are permanent, non-negotiable, and cannot be removed.

Advantages:

  • VAC has a comprehensive detect system

  • VAC encourages the gaming community to report suspected cheaters, helping to identify new cheating methods and cheaters who might otherwise go unnoticed.

Disadvantages:

  • VAC bans are often not immediate, allowing cheaters to disrupt legitimate gameplay for some time before getting caught and banned

  • VAC does not have AI modules

  • VAC has been associated with a relatively high false positive rate, potentially affecting legitimate players.

The battle against cheating in gaming is an ongoing challenge, with various anti-cheat solutions offering unique features and capabilities. Game developers must choose wisely to maintain fair gameplay and protect their reputation in this evolving landscape.

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