Video game cheating has increased this year, with global searches for bots used to gain an unfair advantage having risen by almost a fifth (18%) over the last year, new study shows.
The findings come as part of the Honest Gamers Study, which analyses global and national search volume data to identify trends around video game cheats, including which franchises and titles are most susceptible to dishonest players – and which hacks prove most popular.
The study, from Caziwoo, found that there’s been a rise in gamers utilising tech to cheat, including bots that allow players to automate tasks via AI to gain a competitive edge over fellow players.
The most popular bots are AimBot, HealBot and TriggerBot – used to improve players’ target acquisition skills, boost their durability and provide aim-assistance respectively, data shows.
Bots like these have long been an issue amongst gamers, with many claiming they ruin the online gaming community and calling for operators to restrict participation to strictly human players, in order to curb the unfair advantage bots give cheating gamers.
However, it seems the use of bots will continue to rise rather than dissipate, with TriggerBot having seen a 13% increase in global search volume over the last year alone.
But it’s not just a rising use of bots that players will need to tackle, as the study also found searches for third-party hack and mod subscription services have increased by 41% over the past five years, as they’re becoming a more mainstream method of cheating.
These third-party subscription services – like WeMod, Codebreaker and Cheat Engine – provide players with a variety of cheat codes, mods and hacks that will give them an advantage across multiple titles, making cheating increasingly accessible.
Some also believe that making cheats more accessible also condones doing so, indicating that gamers who were previously unwilling to cheat may be more tempted to use these subscription services, as the use of hacks and mods becomes more commonplace.
When it comes to why players generally cheat, the study found that it’s gaining an advantage over in-game health factors (such as lifespan or number of lives) that proves most tempting, followed by aim-assistance boosts and increasing in-game finances.
The temptation to cheat also differs by video game franchise and title, with the data revealing Grand Theft Auto is the game series with the highest likelihood of cheating, whilst The Sims, Pokemon and FIFA were also likely to see an influx of dishonest players.
Generally speaking, almost 1 in 10 (8%) of global gamers currently playing the most popular titles use some form of cheating, with in-game mods/hacks proving the most popular, followed by subscription services, and bots.
With video game cheats becoming more accessible to meet this rise in demand, it remains to be seen whether player frustrations around unfair advantages will spike over the next year, and whether gaming providers will put measures in place to prevent this.