We’ve become pretty used to hearing about major ban waves from PUBG, and it seems even professional players are getting caught out, as PUBG Corp has punished a further 12 pros for either cheating or allowing their teammates to cheat.
The first part of the purge, which began in December, turfed out four pros along with over 30,000 other players. This latest development bans a further 10 pros for cheating, and suspends another two from competitive play “on the grounds that they were fully knowledgeable about their teammates’ using an unauthorized program during PUBG Europe League Qualifiers”. That brings us to 16 pro players affected in total.
Competitive Ruling: Multiple Players
— PUBG Esports (@PUBGEsports) January 7, 2019
The six players who used the cheating program in professional matches are receiving a three year suspension from competition, while the four who used it only in public games get the slightly lighter punishment of two years. Sans Domicile, a European team which had four members involved in the cheating, has lost its Contenders League spot and can only re-join subsequent events once it has an entirely new roster.
To prevent this happening in future, PUBG Corp has announced pro players will need to “go through a comprehensive background check of all their accounts” prior to competing.
PUBG Corp hasn’t explained what caused the bans beyond citing the use of an “unauthorized program, the type of which has been severely damaging the integrity of the game”. As admitted by some of the banned players (thanks, vieesports), the program in question seems to be radar hacking: a method of cheating which uses a VPN to read game data packets being sent to servers.
As the method doesn’t require reading the actual game files, it’s pretty hard to detect, but it can allow cheaters to view the location of opponents and items on the server – obviously a game-breaking advantage. YouTuber wtfmoses explains the method quite nicely:
Back in October, Reddit users analysed PUBG’s Korean website to estimate that over 13m PUBG accounts have been banned since the game began. The latest banwave is significantly smaller than others we’ve seen in the past, but this was evidently about targeting a very specific and elegant cheating mechanism. The fact pro players are involved is also pretty dramatic, although not quite as ridiculous as when that CS:GO pro was caught cheating mid-tournament. Any excuse to re-watch that footage again.