‘The next evolution in cheat detection’ is coming to Overwatch, says Blizzard

Blizzard has outlined plans “to do some things a bit differently this summer” as it seeks improved ways of managing pervasive cheating in its highly-popular online shooter, Overwatch. In a brief Overwatch developer update video from director Jeff Kaplan, the studio revealed it was bringing in “improved detection” that it believes will be “the next evolution in cheat detection in the game”. 

The new system will automatically shut down any matches in which the technology perceives a cheat is at play. However – besides the cheater themselves, naturally – there will be no penalties for innocent players in the same match, regardless of whether they’re playing on the same or opposing team. 

“Now we will automatically shut down a match where we detect cheating is happening,” Kaplan said (thanks, Eurogamer). “We will make sure that nobody on either side of the match is penalised for that match being shut down.

“So if you’re in a competitive match, you won’t lose [Skill Rating] if a cheater’s on the other team or a cheater’s on your team, and very harsh actions are happening against that cheater, you can be assured,” Kaplan added, before confirming the new tech is already live on the Private Test Server (PTR). 

Blizzard recently shared details of how it has promoted a more positive and supportive culture amongst its player base, stating there has been a 40 per cent reduction in disruptive and antisocial behaviour since its endorsement and LFG (“looking for group”) initiatives were launched.

Blizzard’s Natasha Miller said its endorsement program – which enables players to reward teammates for positive and support behaviour – was designed specifically with online communities in mind. Players were thanked for submitting reports, whilst those who accumulated reports of bad behaviour were formally warned by the studio.

“By performing well within society’s expectations, you’re rewarded,” Miller said at the time. “In online communities, there aren’t effective consequences. We wanted to give them a chance to change their behaviour after we penalised them.”

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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