Dice Gets Serious About Cheating
Dice, developer of the Battlefield series of games including Battlefield 3 and the new Frostbite game engine recently posted an opening on their site for an ANTI-Cheat Administrator. Found right alongside the open positions for IT technicians and Frostbite engineers the job description reads:
In our continued effort to keep our games free from cheating, we are now looking for an Internet savvy administrator.
The administrator will compose an absolutely vital function to secure the online experience our games represent by actively be a part of the community and keep up to date with the current cheat exposure. The administrator will also own the analytical work with our player behavior data to keep our leader boards and game play filled with fair play.
If nothing else this proves a point I made a year ago concerning cheating and the threat to the gaming revenue stream. If cheating didn't threaten the fortunes of developers like DICE and publishers like EA they obviously wouldn't bother creating a salaried position focused on it.
The position was posted at the end of January and remains active on their site.
As advanced as game engines have become and as vigilant as administrators are in policing their servers cheating is still prevalent in major titles like Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3. That guy with the funny player name who just took out your M1 Abrams tank with a 9mm pistol? Yeah, he's cheating.
Sure, it's only a game but these days games are as important an entertainment medium as movies or television. Add to that the countless hours invested in becoming proficient and the pastime quickly rises to the level of a hobby.
People don't NEED hobbies to survive and when their hobby becomes an annoyance due to someone gaming the game as it were, it can quickly be abandoned. That spells disaster for the EA's and Activision's of the world. Lest we forget the console makers and enthusiast PC hardware manufacturers whose fortunes are tied to software capable of leveraging their products.
The game industry can choose to ignore cheating only at their own peril. The reality is that nobody needs a $550 video card or $300 game console to play Bejeweled. It appears Dice, for one, has recognized this simple fact.