Hacker! Bot! Cheater! These are accusations that get thrown around in online games a lot. Outdistance your opponents by a significant margin and you may see these words splash onto the chat feed. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a wild beatdown, it’s understandable how someone may think another player is using a cheat. How is he hitting me from over there? He shot me from across the map! No one can possibly be that good.
It’s not always just sour grapes. There are lots of cheaters and they pay good money to stay on the bleeding edge of cheat software. It’s big business. PC Gamer looked into the subscription side of cheating and found a thriving industry. Companies that create and sell access to cheat programs have their own investors, outsourced customer support, and amazingly enough, their own DRM! One such company operating out of Brazil, (given the moniker “Ultra Cheats” by PC Gamer) rakes in a fairly respectable annual haul.
On March 20, over 2,500 members logged into the Ultra Cheats’ forums, almost all of whom are plainly listed as paying for standard or more expensive cheat packages. At an average of $10 per user a month, Ultra Cheats makes $300,000 a year. Add to this the fact that the forum has almost 150,000 members overall (though we don’t know how many are active, paying users), the Brazil site, and resellers, and it’s not hard to imagine Ultra Cheats breaking a million dollars a year. Slayer declined to share the exact number of their active users.
The next time you think someone is cheating, try to keep in mind that they may be helping to keep the economy going! Capitalism, ho!