No fewer than twelve professional PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds players taking part in one of Europe’s biggest e-sports competitions have been banned following a cheating crackdown.
The PUBG pros, set to compete in the €1m PUBG Europe League, were caught by governing body PUBG Esports using an ‘unauthorised program’ to cheat in both public and competitive online games. While PUBG didn’t officially reveal the nature of the program, it has been widely reported that the cheat in question is a ‘radar hack’, a particularly difficult to detect cheat that allows players to see where opponents are on the map.
PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds is the 50 million players strong ‘battle royale’ game that inspired cultural phenomenon Fortnite, in which 100 combatants are dropped onto a map tasked with finding weapons to eliminate other players to become the last one standing. Given the nature of the game’s rules, knowing the location of other players gives cheaters a huge advantage.
There is a wide range of third-party programs that can be used to gain an unfair advantage in the game such as automatically aiming or reducing damage taken. Most are fairly easy for investigators to identify, but the radar hack is said to be a particularly ‘insidious’ cheat as it is so hard to detect. It uses a virtual private network (VPN) rather than game files to read opponent’s data, which can be fed into a separate program to locate them on the map.