Overwatch
Blizzard has already banned thousands of cheaters in Overwatch since its release on 24 May.Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard clearly wasn't kidding around when it promised to permanently ban cheaters on its popular hero-based FPS Overwatch in May. Just over a week after its release, the developer has already dropped the banhammer on thousands of Overwatch cheaters, including players "using hacks, bots, or third-party software that provides any sort of unfair advantage."

According to PC Gamer, the developer has announced that it has already banned more than 1,500 players in China alone on its Chinese customer support forum. Blizzard has even listed the Battle.net names of every user who has been permanently banned so far to publicly shame the cheating players.

"We've recently taken action against Overwatch accounts worldwide which were found to be using cheat programs," Blizzard community manager Lyrilla wrote in a post on the Western version of Blizzard's forums. "We're committed to providing an equal and fair playing field for everyone in Overwatch, and will continue to take action against those found in violation of our Terms of Use. Cheating of any form will not be tolerated."

Sharing screenshots of posts from a forum dedicated to one of the cheat programmes used by offending players, PC gamer reports that some Overwatch cheaters have posted stories of Blizzard's firm and thorough approach to tackling cheaters.

Some cheaters have even claimed that Blizzard banned them again after they tried buying new copies of the game and cleaning their hard drives of everything related to the game.

"Bought the game again," one alleged cheater said. "Didn't hack on it at all, just wanted to enjoy the game a bit. Two days later—banned again. Bought the game... again. But before doing that, I deleted Overwatch and launcher completely. Enjoyed it again without cheating only for a day."

Some reportedly tried to change their hard drive IDs, BiosDate, MAC address and buy a VPN to get around the ban as well. Blizzard, however, still showed them the door every time.

"We don't take this decision lightly," read one email reportedly sent to a banned user after they tried appealing for a second chance. "Our team issued this closure after a careful review of relevant evidence. Our support staff will not overturn these closures and may not respond to appeals."

According to Blizzard, their strict stance against cheating, hacking and use of any form of unfair advantage in its games isn't "new or groundbreaking" but serves as a reminder of their "commitment to delivering epic gameplay experiences."

"We've always taken cheating in Blizzard games very seriously, and that stance is no different for Overwatch," Lylirra wrote in a post in May. "'Play nice; play fair' is one of our core values as a company, and it's something we've taken to heart not only when designing the game, but also as we've developed our plans to support it and our players after launch...For us, it's not just about creating awesome games, but about supporting those games and their communities for years to come."

The company recently revealed that more than 7 million players have logged 19 million hours in the popular multiplayer shooter across PS4, Xbox One and PC since its launch on 24 May - a testament to the game's rousing success so far.