Game cheats are the hacker’s equivalent of stealing — they allow hackers to gain an unfair advantage over their opponents. They can do things like give themselves infinite ammo or superpowers, which takes the fun out of the challenge and makes it easy to win – and there are plenty of people who still use them, even when they know they’re technically breaking the law.
Using a gaming hacker’s toolkit to get an edge on the competition isn’t just about winning, though. It can also be about advancing your own programming skills. Many gamers who start out by using cheat codes eventually move on to programming cheat engines for themselves, which can help them hone their programming skills and become a better player. This is why some games, including the wildly popular first-person shooter genre, are built with awesome cheats that can make it so none of the enemies stand a chance. Blasting through a pack of enemies with every weapon is incredibly satisfying, and while it may take some of the enjoyment out of the game on a first playthrough, it can add much more fun to replaying it.
Some people are simply bored with a game and want to spice it up by adding in some extra fun. Cheating offers them a quick fix that can make the game more exciting, especially when they don’t have the time or inclination to master in-game mechanics. Whether it’s to get a higher score or just to beat the boredom, cheating is a big part of gaming culture.
Video game cheats can range from simple to complex, and they can affect the entire gaming experience for both honest and dishonest players. A recent survey conducted by Irdeto found that 33% of gamers admit that other players cheating negatively impacts their online gaming experience, and 18% say it happens constantly. These statistics are concerning because they show that gamers have a strong desire to cheat, but also that the majority of them feel it’s not OK.
In terms of how they function, video game cheats are a lot like malware in that the coders who create them are hackers who develop software for the purpose of attacking security defences. They often target weaknesses in software, and their end goal is to make the attack as seamless and undetectable as possible. They do this by modifying game files, reprogramming code and combining functions to form a complete system that allows them to bypass security measures.
The business model for video game cheats is similar to that of malware — it’s a subscription service that keeps money rolling in and new features coming out, which can be very lucrative for the hacker. This is one reason why the security industry has started to implement bug bounty programs, which can close off bugs that are exploited by bad actors and help reduce the number of cheaters out there. Hopefully the games industry will follow suit and ramp up their own bug bounties so that good players won’t be as likely to resort to using cheats.