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New Global Survey: Widespread Cheating in Multiplayer Online Games Frustrates Consumers

Irdeto research finds that a mere 12% of online gamers have never had their experience negatively impacted by cheating and some may be less likely to play due to unfair advantages



AMSTERDAM – 01 May 2018 – More than half (60%) of gamers have had their multiplayer gaming experience negatively impacted by other players cheating on multiple occasions, according to new research by Irdeto. The Irdeto Global Gaming Survey of 9,436 consumers also indicates that these online gamers will purchase less in-game content and even stop playing the game in question, if they feel that other players are gaining an unfair advantage through cheating. Cheating in these games often involves manipulating and distorting data or code to gain an advantage over others or bypass in-game transactions.

Of the consumers surveyed online across six different countries, including China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, UK and US, 77% of online gamers are likely to stop playing a multiplayer game online if they think other players are cheating and 48% of online gamers are likely to buy less in-game content as a result. This suggests a massive impact on the revenues of game publishers if they do not adequately protect multiplayer online games from cheating.

Surprisingly, the survey also found that only 12% of online gamers who play multiplayer games have never had their multiplayer gaming experience negatively impacted by other players cheating, while 8% said that it was always impacted. Millennials are most aware of the impact of cheating, with 12% of 18 to 24-year-olds globally stating their experience is always negatively impacted and only 7% of this age group who play multiplayer games stating that they are never impacted by other players cheating. It is therefore unsurprising that the survey also found that 76% of online gamers felt that it was important that multiplayer games online are secured against other players gaining an unfair advantage through cheating.

“These results clearly indicate that cheating in multiplayer online games is a growing problem. Furthermore, the global nature of these games means that it doesn’t matter where the cheating is taking place, as it has the potential to negatively impact other gamers around the world, and this sets a big challenge for game publishers,” said Reinhard Blaukovitsch, Managing Director of Denuvo, Irdeto.

“If cheaters are allowed to prosper, the impact on other players can subsequently lead to lower game traffic and shrinking revenues,” added Elmar Fischer, Sales Director of Denuvo, Irdeto. “It is therefore crucial for game publishers to secure their games against cheating to ensure a great experience for gamers all over the world who want to play by the rules.”

Despite the negative experiences that many gamers are having and the subsequent impact on the industry, cheating is still rife in multiplayer online games. The survey indicates that some gamers place their own experience and desire to win above all else. While 57% of gamers globally stated they have never used third-party tools to cheat in multiplayer games online, a substantial proportion of 12% admitted to being cheaters: regularly taking action including modifying game files and/or using hardware tools to cheat. This suggests that there appears to be an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ attitude among some gamers who will take action to fight back against cheaters, even if that means cheating themselves.

“Gamers across the globe clearly feel that they are not being sufficiently protected against cheating and malicious plugins. This leads to a vicious cycle where one in eight gamers feel forced to cheat.” said Rory O’Connor, Senior Vice President of Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto. “Game publishers should implement security strategies which prevent hackers in multiplayer games from manipulating and distorting data or code to gain an advantage over other gamers or bypass in-game transactions. The brands that put the protections in place that gamers want will surely prevail in an increasingly competitive online gaming sector.”

Cheating on gaming platforms can distort virtual in-game economies and can be used to manipulate or bypass in-game micro-transactions. Denuvo’s anti-cheat technology prevents hackers in multiplayer games from manipulating and distorting data and code to gain an advantage over other gamers or bypass in-game micro-transactions. This prevents dilution of the value of the game for the user and the game studio.

Click here to download the full report on the survey results:


The survey was commissioned by Irdeto and conducted online from February 27, 2018 to March 14, 2018 by YouGov Plc. with 9,436 adults (aged 18+), of which 5911 were gamers, in six countries. The countries surveyed were: China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, UK and US. Figures have been weighted appropriately to be representative of adults in each country (e.g. nationally representative, urban representative, or online representative). The overall ‘global’ figures have been given an even weighting for each country to produce an ‘average’ value.

About Irdeto

Irdeto is the world leader in digital platform cybersecurity, empowering businesses to innovate for a secure, connected future. Building on over 50 years of expertise in security, Irdeto’s services and solutions protect revenue, enable growth and fight cybercrime in video entertainmentvideo games, and connected industries including transporthealth and infrastructure. With teams around the world, Irdeto’s greatest asset is its people and diversity is celebrated through an inclusive workplace, where everyone has an equal opportunity to drive innovation and support Irdeto’s success. Irdeto is the preferred security partner to empower a secure world where people can connect with confidence.

For further information, please contact:

Irdeto Media Team