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Widespread Cheating in Multiplayer Online Games Drives Gamers in Asia Pacific Away

Gamers in Asia Pacific are most likely to have their multiplayer gaming experience negatively impacted by other players cheating, according to new online research by Irdeto. Of gamers surveyed in China, 77% said that this happens frequently, followed by South Korea at 68%, above the global average of 59%. The Irdeto Global Gaming Survey of 9,436 consumers also indicated that gamers in South Korea (88%) and China (85%) feel most strongly about securing multiplayer games online against other players gaining an unfair advantage through cheating — higher than the global average of 76%. This indicates a clear and direct correlation between consumers who have been negatively impacted by cheating and the level of importance they place on securing these games.

Of the consumers surveyed online across six different countries, including China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, UK and US, the Asia Pacific (APAC) markets showed the highest likelihood of discontinuing a multiplayer game online if they thought other players were cheating to gain an unfair advantage.

Of online gamers surveyed in South Korea, 86% are likely to stop playing, followed by China (81%) and Japan (74%). The survey also found that cheating in online multiplayer games potentially dilutes the value of the game and can result in both lower spending on in-game content and in consumers choosing to play other games that are more secure instead with 48% of gamers globally saying they would buy less in game content as a result. This suggests a clear impact on revenues for game publishers if they do not adequately protect online multiplayer games from cheating.

Interestingly, the survey also found that in China, South Korea and Japan, where cheating is deemed to be particularly prominent, there is a proportion of gamers who seem to have accepted this fact and are presumably more willing to spend money to beat the cheaters in a game. Eighteen percent of online gamers in China and 17% in both South Korea and Japan say that they would buy more in-game content if they knew other gamers were cheating, compared to the global average of 14%.

“Failure to secure games against cheating will affect every player in the ecosystem, from users to publishers,” said ReinhardBlaukovitsch, Managing Director of Denuvo, Irdeto. “Furthermore, the global nature of games means that it doesn’t matter where the cheating is taking place, as it has the potential to negatively impact other gamers around the world, and this sets a big challenge for game publishers.”

“With the global gaming market estimated to be worth $128.5 billion by 2020, there is huge competition and a growing opportunity for game publishers to increase their market share. However, if game publishers do not take cheating seriously and fail to provide a secure environment for gamers all over the world, they may lose consumer confidence and ultimately suffer revenue losses,” added Elmar Fischer, Sales Director of Denuvo, Irdeto.

Despite the negative impact that cheating has on the gaming industry, it is still widespread in multiplayer online games because of some gamers who choose to put their experience and desire to win before all else. China (41%), Japan (24%) and South Korea (23%) saw the highest proportion of online gamers globally, who always, often or sometimes use third-party tools to cheat in multiplayer games online. This indicates a clear country-specific correlation, where APAC gamers who are most likely to be negatively impacted by cheating, are also most likely to cheat in multiplayer games online. These findings suggest that there appears to be an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ attitude among some gamers who will take action to fight back against cheaters, even if that means cheating themselves.

“APAC gamers feel that not enough is being done to protect their multiplayer online gaming experience from cheating and malicious plugins, to the point that some are even willing to cheat themselves in order to fight back,” said Rory O’Connor, Senior Vice President of Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto. “Game publishers should invest in security strategies which prevent hackers in multiplayer games from manipulating and distorting data or code to gain an advantage over other gamers or bypass in-game transactions. The brands that aim to give gamers an enjoyable experience and fair play, will surely prevail in an increasingly competitive online gaming sector.”

The success of any game title is dependent upon the ability of the title to operate as the publisher intended. Cheating on gaming platforms can distort virtual in-game economies and can be used to manipulate or bypass in-game micro-transactions, resulting in a less enjoyable experience for gamers who play fair. Denuvo’s anti-cheat technology prevents hackers in multiplayer games from manipulating and distorting data and code to gain an advantage over other gamers. This prevents dilution of the value of the game for the user and the game studio.

Click here to download the full report on the survey results: https://resources.irdeto.com/irdeto-global-gaming-survey


The survey was commissioned by Irdeto and conducted online from February 27, 2018 to March 14, 2018 by YouGov Plc. with 9,436 adults (aged 18+), of which 5911 were gamers, in six countries. The countries surveyed were: China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, UK and US. Figures have been weighted appropriately to be representative of adults in each country (e.g. nationally representative, urban representative, or online representative). The overall ‘global’ figures have been given an even weighting for each country to produce an ‘average’ value.