China Busts the "World's Biggest Video Game Cheating Ring" Seizing $76 Million
Chinese authorities said they busted the "world's biggest gang of video game hackers," according to CBS News. The culprits were arrested for selling cheating software for games such as Call of Duty and Overwatch and saw the seizure of $76 million of their assets, along with luxury cars and other goods.
Serkan Toto, a video game analyst, Told CBS News that these types of cheating syndicates have long operated with impunity partially due to their professionalism.
"They are extremely professional. If you look at some of the website offerings, they have shopping carts, they have pricing lists, they have customer service," Toto told CBS News. "Some of these companies [are] raking millions and millions each month. And the scale is really unbelievable in some cases, and so are the profits."
Esports, or competitive video gaming, have seen a surge in cheating as the field has grown in popularity. Top stars in the industry can make up to seven figures urging fans to imitate them.
But not everyone has the skills to play like a pro. That's where cheating becomes so appealing. Cheats can give players superpowers like the ability to see through walls or the precision to fire a gun and hit a target each time.
Gaming has also reached new heights in Japan where a hotel dedicated to the sport called e-ZONe opened last year. Manager Takahiro Shimamoto told CBS News that most adult customers check into the hotel to play throughout the entire weekend and there have already been incidents of cheating.
"When we first opened [the hotel], we caught three cheaters," Shimamoto said.
And with close to half a billion fans forecasted to watch Esports this year alone, you can bet the cheating will continue. Will authorities be able to stay on top of cheaters and ensure the games' integrity is no compromised? Time will tell.