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GameShark Backs Away From Online Cheat Codes

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the you-cheat-you-lose dept.

PlayStation (Games) 39

Thanks to GameSpot for its article noting that the GameShark and Xploder-branded console cheating devices will no longer release codes for online games. According to the piece, creators Fire International "...felt that some of its cheats for games such as SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs [for PS2] were ruining the experience for other online players." We've previously covered Fire International's boasts as "the first source of cheats" for SOCOM, but now a spokesperson for the company says: "We feel that the game enhancements we create are generally used to help individual users complete or get the most out of their games... We want to protect the integrity of online gaming for all who want to play in this environment cheat-free."

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It's about time (4, Interesting)

sn0 (638732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8097697)

Cheating completly ruined Socom online. It became unplayable due to the excessive cheating, and the fact that there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.

Re:It's about time (3, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#8097789)

however will this change anything? aren't you still able to scan/find your own codes anyways?

Re:It's about time (2, Interesting)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8097948)

My only experience is with such a device on my original PS1. I could probably find cheats, but I wouldn't have the patience. The device I have has no scan feature or anything. Would be an extremely tedious trial and error experiment.

I say kudos to Gameshark for doing this. Sadly other sites will still post codes, but it's a good start to killing off cheating for the most part.

Re:It's about time (2, Informative)

blincoln (592401) | more than 10 years ago | (#8103275)

The device I have has no scan feature or anything. Would be an extremely tedious trial and error experiment.

No PS2 cheat device has code-finding features.

Independent hackers generally use PS2Dis to disassemble the ELF files from commercial games and make codes that way.

I used it to make some excellent codes for Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance that enable use of debugging menus from when the games were being tested.

Hopefully when PS2 emulation is a little further along, that software will be able to be used to do things like scan active memory while the game is running.

I say kudos to Gameshark for doing this. Sadly other sites will still post codes, but it's a good start to killing off cheating for the most part.

AFAIK, Gameshark (by which I mean the new, MadCatz-owned company, not the old Interact-owned company) is the *last* one to make this kind of pledge. Try finding online cheating codes on Pelican's site for the Codebreaker, or Datel's site for the Action Replay (formerly sold in the US as the Gameshark), and you will come up empty.

IMO, MadCatz probably only did it after pressure from Sony.

Re:It's about time (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8120364)

Whatever the case, they're doing it. Whether it's for noble reasons or not, it's still a good thing:)

Action Replay... I remember, a friend had one on the Amiga. Really fun little device that was.

Re:It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8099037)

For the most part, no. It requires the kind of resources that are beyond the average consumer. It's not impossible, of course, but it's much more difficult to create cheats than it was in the PS1/N64 days. Not to mention the cheat programs themselves use encrypted codes now, though the encryption was eventually broken.

Re:It's about time (3, Insightful)

Aoreias (721149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098090)

Game publishers for online games on consoles have to be aware that gameshark-like devices exist for all consoles, and that this will affect online games if there's no control. This is the exact thing the PC-industry has been dealing with for years.

Instead of trying to crush a couple sources of distribution, game companies should instead design their games with redundancy between online consoles, protection against these hacks, and online updating to crush them when they do come out.

Relying on stopping main distribution methods isn't a satisfactory solution and only makes it a tad harder to get cheat codes.

-Aoreias

Little Slow (4, Interesting)

Neppy (673459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8097708)

Companies dont just instantly realize that something they did was irresponsible. This sounds like a case of industry pressure behind the scenes being infintely more important than the integrity of online games. All comes down to $$.

Re:Little Slow (3, Insightful)

DS-1107 (680578) | more than 10 years ago | (#8097740)

True - Not seeing that giving cheats to online games would ruin the experience for everyone is something not even the blind could claim to have done.

All those cheats for games before have been seen as something good for the community, or atleast acceptable, but this? No, the fact that they didn't see that ruining the experience for gamers not using the cheats, and alas also ruining the experience for the cheater - would backfire on them is the weird part. The only good part in this for the makers of the cheats is that many singleplayer gamers do not play online, and those of course have no serious need to stop buying gamecheats from namedcompanies, unless they want to show their disslike on the behalf of their fellow online gamers.

cant winm all (1)

errgh (744846) | more than 10 years ago | (#8097781)

Maybe software companies should stop releasing debuggers and tcp/ip logging software so that people can stop making cheats for online pc games... ya right.

Re:cant winm all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8099218)

gameshark is not a debugger or tcp/ip logger, therefore your comparison is flawed.

Re:cant winm all (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099800)

Maybe software companies should stop releasing debuggers and tcp/ip logging software so that people can stop making cheats for online pc games... ya right.

Huh? Most cheats either come from putting "hooks" into video card calls (and have nothing to do with the source of the original game) or from dumping the source of a game that is ment to be modded (ie, Unreal Tournament, Half Life, etc). Sure, companies could make it harder to make mods for games, but then there would be no counter strike. And you would still be dealing with aimbots, speed hacks, etc.

Re:ant wnm al (1)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#8101194)

This is why I prefer to play games against AI instead of other players whenever possible. If I wanna cheat, the AI doesn't care, if I wanna fair game, the AI accomodates. Very good system.

Re:cant winm all (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#8101372)

a big source of (external)cheats is not those, afaik a popular method is to scan the memory for changes then make some program to keep those parts of memory unchanged that matter(keeping the bytes that store the health at values for 100% for example), i believe this is the usual method of gameshark devices as well(for just about any device, the gameshark 'codes' being what memory address should be tempered with).

Re:cant winm all (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 10 years ago | (#8101573)

a big source of (external)cheats is not those, afaik a popular method is to scan the memory for changes then make some program to keep those parts of memory unchanged that matter(keeping the bytes that store the health at values for 100% for example),

I can tell you, this doesn't work with modern PC games online. At least not Unreal Tournament. You can change your health on the client side (ie, make your heath stay at 100, or even jack it up to 999) but your health is tracked on the server side. so if you were to jack your health 999, when you lose 50 points, it would say 949 on your side, but it would be 50 on the server side and guess what happens when you get to 0? The server tells the client your dead regardless of your client side heath. Freezing heath does no good either. I know someone who was bored one day and tried. ;) I would assume most PC games work like this, or cheating would be even more widespread. (and way too easy)

Now, as far as consoles go I would think that they would use the "can't trust the client" model and not allow things such as that, but I guess they do with the gameshark. Seems kinda silly, since it's easy to protect against (Don't trust the client!) Of course, whoever is the server can always cheat then. (Unless Microsoft or whoever is running the servers).

Re:cant winm all (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#8103720)

well I was more talking about single player games..

the fact that they seem to trust the client on these console games is just so stupid I found it hard to believe :).

how could they even know if it is a console that's connected to the server, let alone what happens to the packets in between? it seems just like quick decision to get the game out(and practicality, however here practicality should have been placed second as trusting the clients can easily ruin the whole game for everyone).

Hollow Promise (4, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8097854)

The devices will still allow you to cheat online, you just have to get your codes from somewhere else. And if there's one thing that holds true on the Internet it's that there are a heck of a lot of "somewhere else"s.

Re:Hollow Promise (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 10 years ago | (#8104846)

The devices will still allow you to cheat online, you just have to get your codes from somewhere else. And if there's one thing that holds true on the Internet it's that there are a heck of a lot of "somewhere else"s.

This actually makes it worse for the gamer. If there is going to be cheating, it's better that it is widespread so gamers know it's out there, what to look for, and who to play with (ie, only people they trust). When only a few people have cheats, they can use them in tournaments, ladder play, etc and no one will ever know.

Subject (4, Insightful)

illumen (718958) | more than 10 years ago | (#8097900)

Read as '''We have been threatened with legal action because our cheats can reduce corporate profits! So no more cheats for you.'''

about time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098001)

losers who couldn't complete a single level without using it shouldn't bother playing games at all.

Re:about time... (4, Interesting)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098041)

Right, and bullies pick on you because you're smarter and they feel insecure. It's soothing to hear, but there's not a lot of truth to it. Most cheaters are pretty good at these games. The ones who aren't usually suck even when cheating (in fact, it can be quite hilarious when they demonstrate they can't even cheat properly). Most players aren't looking for something to do all the work for them, they're looking for something to give them an edge. It's a lot like athletes who use corked bats or steroids. I'd certainly call it morally wrong, but on the other hand most people don't seem to care. Witness the lack of uproar over pro sports drug scandals, despite considerably hype by the press and several major (ex-)athletes. Most cheaters probably just don't think much of what they're doing. They aren't out to ruin the game or piss you off; they don't even consider that you might get upset. After all, they reason, it's just a game.

Re:about time... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098249)

You speak about the "truth" but don't provide a heck of a lot of evidence. How do you know what "most cheaters" are like?

Re:about time... (2, Insightful)

derrickh (157646) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099405)

I don't believe that for a second. To cheat online, you usually have to go through a fair amount of work (to mod your console) or shell out cash(Gameshark). Someone that's good at the game isn't doing that. People who cheat are people who either can't compete on a level playing field(real or imagined) or enjoy ruining the game for others. If you really believe that there aren't people who take a huge delight in screwing up someone else's game, then you're living in a fantasy world.

The pro-sports metaphor doesn't work. There's always a huge uproar. Remember when McGuire was on Creatine? How about when Sosa got caught with a corked bat? Those incidents weren't swept under the rug. Online cheating is even worse because it directly affects -me-, not some abtract city/team. It's my game being ruined. It's MY time thats being wasted. And it's not because someone simply wants an edge. It's because the cheater can't or won't compete with everyone else.

If what you say is true, then cheaters would happily leave a game when asked, or start their own servers labeled 'cheating allowed'. But instead they claim innocence or that the other players are the ones with a problem because after all, it's just a game.

D

Re:about time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8100194)

The pro-sports metaphor doesn't work. There's always a huge uproar. Remember when McGuire was on Creatine? How about when Sosa got caught with a corked bat? Those incidents weren't swept under the rug.

Ummm...they weren't? I saw a token suspension for Sosa and no backlash for McGwire at all (although, to be fair, what he uses is legal under the twisted MLB drug policy). Pro baseball in rife with cheating. Look at Gaylord Perry, for an extreme example...he's at this point a respected member of the Hall of Fame. We always hear people complain about "steroids in sports", or other dirty play, but if you start talking about specific examples, the subject all of a sudden becomes taboo.

So both the parent and grandparent are right - there are some who see absolutely no moral problem with what they are doing, just as some athletes see no moral problem with what they are doing, but believe that general public opinion is incorrect on the matter of their method of cheating (when's the last time you saw a baseball player tell the media that he uses creatine without being asked - probably around the last time you saw an online gaming cheater admit they were using a cheat).

On the flip side, there are also griefers - people who feel like they have an edge in cleverness over the non-cheaters in the game, or just like causing misery. Take your pick. They don't always cheat, it should be noted - there's plenty of people in MMORPGS who like killing new players to make other people feel miserable.

I really hate that there are people who get their kicks making others' game experiences suck. But, what can you do? There are jerks everywhere.

Re:about time... (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099836)

I know an online "Clan" of cheaters that play FPS games, Most of them are good players, rank high in stats and some in ladders when they used to play seriously. Now they cheat to have fun, grief and they are out to ruin the games or piss you off.

Re:about time... (1)

Chibi (232518) | more than 10 years ago | (#8100201)

After all, they reason, it's just a game.


Allow me to make a broad generalization... the funny thing I've noticed is that cheaters get very upset when they lose. Oh, bitter irony...

Re:about time... (1)

Kevin Stevens (227724) | more than 10 years ago | (#8100235)

You have not played Socom, and your statement makes me doubt that you have seen these cheaters in other games. Most of the cheats in socom make you absolutely invincible. The "wall hacking" cheats might "just" give you an edge, since you can see where other players are, but most cheats in online games are much more severe. Socom, for example, you have the outright invincibility cheat, the infinite rate of fire cheat, that make you for all intents and purposes omnipotent, and the game absolutely unplayable to others in the server. These dont make you compete better, they make you friggen invincible. What they get out of ruining a server, I dont know. If roger clemens dragged a cannon onto the mound that fired nerf balls at 300 mph, you would bet there would be an uproar.

And the real problem is that on console games, you cant just patch the problem. Its there for good. Some games have limited patching capabilities server side, like Tribes Aerial Assault on PS2 (which actually was able to make some great changes to the gameplay by just modifying server code), but most have none, or at least no interest from the developers to do so.

Re:about time... (1)

ajd1474 (558490) | more than 10 years ago | (#8105354)

mmmmm.... xbox live... Kick MS all you like, but i havent come across a cheat yet.

Re:about time... (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#8100990)

I'd certainly call it morally wrong, but on the other hand most people don't seem to care. Witness the lack of uproar over pro sports drug scandals, despite considerably hype by the press and several major (ex-)athletes.

And the fact that you are bring this fact up means that there is still a considerable amount of fallout still existing from those scandals. If major league baseball players started using 'aimbots' to hit the ball and guarantee a homerun every time, you can bet that they'd be out of the league forever. Its the same thing with PC online games, if you're caught cheating for a moderator you're banned for LIFE off the server. In a real life case, there usually isn't 'other servers' you can go off to.

Games are made with rules. Once rules are broken, heads start rolling.

Re:about time... (-1)

toiletsalmon (309546) | more than 10 years ago | (#8104903)

I don't think this is an appropriate comparison. It would be pretty difficult to find a perfect real world analogy to the "aim-bot", but your point is well taken.

I argue however, that it's alot more difficult to get kicked out of a sport for "cheating" than it was, say 20 years ago.

Because of the gradual decrease in many people's morals, I think we as a whole are a lot more tolerant of these sorts of behaviors. We even expect people to cheat most of the time.

Additionally, judging by some of the marketing numbers that have been floating around for baseball in the last couple of years, fans have been migrating to other sports or even videogames.

Enough already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8100440)

I play Age of Kings on Zone, where there are hoardes of cheaters.

Few things are more infuriating than coming home from a long day of work and expecting to relax with a multiplayer game only to have your opponents come at you with four times as many
soldiers as allowed by the population limit while flattening your defenses with the click of the mouse.

I can't even begin to guess how much of my time has been wasted by cheaters who basically get their thrills by typing "own3d" after ruining a 2-hour game.

And yet Microsoft does nothing about it, so we're forced to rely on a third-party to issue patches, which I'm still not sure are safe.

I know this is slightly off-topic, but I needed to vent about cheaters...

Just make it harder... (1)

tprime (673835) | more than 10 years ago | (#8100836)

Yes, I know there are other sources out there that WILL develop cheats for online games. The idea here is to just make it more difficult to cheat, because you will never completely remove cheating from online games.

I wonder if it is possible for Sony to do a check for a gameshark or other cheat hardware when you attempt to connect to their servers to play Socom..

Make cheating a crime? (1)

gumpish (682245) | more than 10 years ago | (#8100845)

I wonder how fast cheating in multiplayer games would stop when faced with the threat of a few months in a federal pound-me-in-the-ass-prison.

Obviously the big concern would be false positives. A concern so big this would never happen... I sure as hell don't trust VAC with that responsibility.

Discuss.

Game companies should take a hard line on cheating (1)

FeetOfStinky (669511) | more than 10 years ago | (#8101169)

Can online cheating ever be totally eliminated, from either the PC or console realms? No.

BUT.

Game companies could put together a EULA for online games that works something like this:

"We reserve the right to revoke your [CD-key/Xbox gamer tag] if we find that you are using third party cheating programs. That means we ban your ass and you are out $50. Remember, you were warned, so no whining."

Then, release patches periodically to update code/detect cheats and ban the losers. There are several benefits here:

Reduced resource drain on servers due to less cheaters

Happier legit players. Plus, a reputation for being tough on cheating will spread to other potential customers.

Some of the less intelligent cheaters will probably buy your game again (multiple revenue from a single source).

Of course the major con here is the threat of a lawsuit, but if the EULA is strict enough, that might be mitigated somewhat.

(I realize that Blizzard has taken baby steps down this road, but IMO that have not gone nearly far enough).

Am I being too idealistic, or this approach a possibility at all?

Re:Game companies should take a hard line on cheat (1)

GTarrant (726871) | more than 10 years ago | (#8102678)

This happens to some degree now, but not with respect to cheating, but with respect to piracy. Many online first-person-shooters that use CD keys (especially those that use id's engines) have the keyserver keep track of when a CD key is used for online play, and what IP address it's used from. If multiple people try to use the key at once, or there are distinct close-in-time geographical variations in the IP address, such things are noted. Too many violations for a given CD key, and the key is banned permanently - and they won't replace the key, you're out the $50.

Could this be extended to cheating? Sure, but cheating violations are something that I think would be a nightmare for the game company itself to keep track of, and a single false positive leading to a ban would be a logistical nightmare for the company (and once you get ONE proven false positive, every other cheater you've banned that professes their innocence, as they all do, are going to say theirs were false too). Even if you have something like PB integrated into the game, there have been cases in the past where it's come up with false positives due to various incompatibilities. They're usually fixed quickly, but they undermine the system in general. Things like this are more minor issues if you're only getting banned from that one server someone is playing on, but when you're talking being out the $50, you better be DAMNED sure that there isn't a chance they were legit.

It's easy to say that a CD key was in use by two IP addresses at once, and the odds of a false positive are low...but with cheating? I think it'd work, but it needs to be ironclad. If you're playing on the company's servers, or through a company system (see: Battle.net) then it's possible. But if it's like PC FPS games, played on random servers set up by random people, or even Xbox Live, where again, anyone can set up a server...it becomes much more of a challenge.

More than $50 lost on Xbox Live (1)

gearheadsmp (569823) | more than 10 years ago | (#8107995)

More than $50 is lost when you "cheat" on Xbox Live. When you get banned from Live, it doesn't ban your account. Oh no, there's a better way. It bans you're Xbox's BIOS checksum from Live.

All Cheaters must die! (1)

mrshowtime (562809) | more than 10 years ago | (#8101866)

Lets see, cheaters ruined the following games for me:

Warcraft II

Starcraft

Diablo

Half Life

CounterStrike

Unreal Tournament (s)

Halo (although it's better now)
and countless other online games. I don't care if it's a wall hack, or a "god" code, I hate all cheat codes in online games. Rampant cheating for game consoles has already proven it simply destroys the game. It's unfair to those who spent $50 and simply now cannot play the game due to rampant cheating.

It's about damn time... (1)

DarthWufei (686942) | more than 10 years ago | (#8105188)

Finally, one of my most despised companies decides to step away from providing cheats for online games. It's about time they realized that their easy to access codes have ruined many games for other people.

I really don't mind cheating in games where you're not involved with others, but make others unhappy? To be honest, cheating devices can take away sales of some games, such as *coughs* PSO. While the latest versions of PSO are not hacked via a cheating device, before now that was a major problems and IMO ruined the first two versions. It may have also somewhat spawned the experiments into FSOD, BSOD, Card Wipes, etc that plagued the games.

Now, I don't really want to say that GameShark is totally at fault. Sega was quite lazy about cleaning up their act and patching the systems, but eh, they decided to just wait to start anew and lose a ton of money on keeping the servers running. Though, I do think that both should do their part. Game developers should take extra care to protect games from cheating in the online arenas. I've seen a lot of FPS PC games use PunkBuster and what not as a way to rid more common problems, and that's a step towards hope. Now, we finally get a major provider of cheats stepping away from online games. I'm quite happy.

Now if we can just figure out a way to screen players. XD

At Last? (1)

Shakey_Jake33 (670826) | more than 10 years ago | (#8108977)

Well this took a long time... I won't waste time in looking at why this is a good thing, because it's blatantly obvious... but why has this not happened sooner? Cheating has ruined online console games. Cnsoles do not have a reasonable way of patching against cheaters (Yes I know it's possible on the Xbox, but it's rarely done), so Consoles have always been the hardest hit with online cheaters. I remember the early days of PSO where quite litetally everyone was a cheater, using some hacked weapons or what not... making the game pointless... or worse, PK'ing or using a similar type exploit to wipe out a character and steal items. This drove Sonic Team to release Verion 2, which while better protected with the game regularly checking the part of RAM used to store the cheats, it was not immune. Even today we still have cheaping on the GameCube version, and given it was always Datel's supposed stance to 'enhance' the gaming experience, it's frankly chocking that this did not occur sooner. While people can make their own cheat codes, it is likely that the average cheater would not have the know-how, and the average techy would know better. This could be the start of an online console scene that is actually worth bothering with.
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