Microsoft Is Working On A Way To Catch Xbox Live Cheaters

Talk about gaming with Big Brother

Microsoft filed a patent for machine learning tech to detect cheaters on Xbox Live, in general, as oppose to seeking cheaters in a specific game. This patent was filed back in May 2017 but was just now spotted thanks to Digital Trends.

The technology would work to detect cheating by tracking achievements and progress within the game itself. It’d gather information on things like leaderboards, achievements, and even who you’re playing with. Then it would analyze the data to determine whether or not anything was outside the norm. If all was clear, you’d be fine. Otherwise it’s assumed that punishments, such as bans, might ensue.

In the detailed description portion of the patent, Microsoft breaks down why there is a need for such a device:

[0009] [P]layers that utilize an online gaming platform may gain status among a gaming community by meeting defined goals in various games. For example, players that achieve defined goals in a game may be awarded items that can be used by the player in that game, in other games, and/or in other services offered by the platform, wherein such items may inform other players of that player’s accomplishments on the platform. Likewise, the achievement of such goals, potentially in combination with other information (e.g. high scores in games played on the platform, amount of time spent playing games on the platform, etc.), may contribute toward a ranking of the player relative to other players on the platform. Such achievements and rankings may motivate players on the platform to continue to use the platform and improve game play over time.

[0010] However, some players may attempt to gain status by cheating, rather than by ordinary game play. For example, a player may hack a game in various ways to reduce the difficulty of the game, or to cause the game to award achievements when goals underlying the achievements may not have been met by the player.

[0011] To avoid such behaviors, game providers may implement mechanisms to enforce policies against cheating in a game. However, such mechanisms may only detect cheating occurring within the game itself. As such, a platform that hosts third party games may not be able to detect cheating that occurs in third party games, even where achievements in third party games are managed at the platform level. When the third-party game notifies the game platform of the improperly-awarded achievement, the game platform may award the player an item in response to the achievement, thereby rewarding the cheating behavior.

The way Microsoft sees it, cheating hurts the community by potentially giving some players an unfair advantage. And on a financial level, cheating can lead to less play time (and less money spent if the game has micro transactions). This tech is a long ways away and that’s if it comes out at all. Still it raises some questions: would gamers push back on this big brother cheat detection A.I? And how would it account for game bugs or even speed runners?

Source Gamasutra
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