One of the world’s biggest e-sports competitions has been thrown into chaos after more than a dozen professional gamers were caught cheating in a bid to win the top prize of $2 million.
The cheaters were playing “PlayerUnknown’s Battleground” (PUBG) with a “radar hack” so they could watch enemy players during the online competition.
PUBG, an online multiplayer battle royale shooter, is the second-best selling PC game of all time, with an estimated 24 million copies sold worldwide.
Investigators received allegations of cheating in December after the high-level players were spotted reading data during the Global Championship qualifiers.
Teams of four from across the world compete in the competition to become the “world’s greatest” — and win a cool $2 million.
Modal TriggerPUBG is a battle royale similar to “Fortnite.”
PUBG is a battle royale similar to “Fortnite.”SWNS
The game is a “death match” where a hundred players fight in a battle royale, where teams fight to remain alive. The last team standing wins the game.
Previous hacking attempts used methods such as “wall hacks,” “aimbots” and “extra-sensory perception” — which were easily detectable by moderators.
But the banned gamers used a virtual private network, or VPN, to anonymously read packets of opponents’ data without detection.
The data would be moved to a game server, where it was unpacked and fed into a separate program allowing cheats to watch it from their phone.
Four professionals were caught in December, alongside 10 last week — and a two more who refused to give up the cheats.
The hack allowed players to view their opponent’s location on a separate screen to the one they played on.
Moderators scanned their files for a specific address after a tipoff, searched for a particular phrase to the trigger, and discovered a match.
PUBG began a massive wave of bans related to the cheats booting over regular 30,000 players off their servers before Christmas.
The 16 professionals were suspended from the game for three years after experts discovered their “unauthorized programs use.”
The cheating system was described by competition organizers as severely damaging the integrity of the game, which is one of the world’s most competitive electronic sports.