The Implications of Crossplay
19 August 2021
We are always happy to see the expansion of the gaming world, crossplay is often called for. Cross-platform play or crossplay means more accessibility, more reach, and greater numbers of players engaging without barriers and limitations.
But it is not all positives, there are downsides to expanding the realms of gaming. As consoles dip into one another, there isn’t really any trouble. But once PC is introduced, we start to see problems emerging.
Hackers and Cheaters: Console Edition
For the players who use only consoles, the PlayStations and XBOXs, dealing with hackers and cheaters is a bit of a rarity. You’re dealing with a closed environment, entirely monitored and maintained by the respective company.
While console hacking isn’t unheard of, it’s certainly not a common problem. Exposure to hackers isn’t something a console player really has to worry about. The complexities and difficulties of beginning to hack a console is enough of a deterrent for all but the most determined.
In addition, any seeking to hack consoles are dealing with a lot less information and smaller communities to aid in the practice. This means the frequency of incidents expected in a console environment is a comfortably low number. However, this does not mean security can be given a lesser priority. All it takes is one compromised vulnerability and the system will be under threat.
Hackers and Cheaters: PC Edition
On PC, the story is completely different. We are now on a completely open system, there are no structures. No confines of big companies, no fixed hardware or design infrastructure. We’re in the Wild West. This is the industry of PC hacking. And business is booming.
On PC, you are dealing with an audience that contains highly sophisticated, tech-savvy users. The ones who look at game security as a challenge. We’ve covered why people might target the game's industry in the past, they have plenty of reasons.
There are entire communities, huge groups of users on forums dedicated to hacking and cheating. There are wide-spanning industries in the making and selling of cheats. Any communities on console dedicated to hacking are absolutely miniscule compared to the churning industry that exists on PC. It’s something console users don’t even have to know or worry about.
Until crossplay that is.
What happens when you take the safe and secure online environment of a console game and combine it with the quite wild online environment of a PC game?
The answer is an incredibly frustrated community. Currently, one of the biggest examples of this combination is Call of Duty: Warzone. The free-to-play battle royale game is currently a battleground filled with aimbots and wallhacks. And console players, without a hope against the impossible odds, are not happy.
There are petitions and articles, users mobilizing on Reddit, all in a desperate bid to at least save the console environment. There are also calls for a “killer anti-cheat” to solve this problem. While we disagree that anti-cheat is the way to go for proper security, there is the need for something strong and durable.
Banning and eliminating these hackers and cheaters only does so much. The game is free, they can return only moments later with a new account. There needs to be a serious move for security to be improved. And it needs to be fast so that this Warzone can return to hackerless run-and-gun chaos.
We think there’s a good solution in server-side security, having worked on securing gameplay on several projects before. Nonetheless, our engineers and the fans of Warzone are waiting to see how this issue is handled by those at Activision, Raven Software, and Infinity Ward.