Since the release of Tom Clancy's The Division in March, French developer Ubisoft has struggled to curb the rampant use of cheats, hacks and exploits in its post-apocalyptic third-person shooter. In a blog post on 9 June, the developer has announced its most aggressive measure yet to rid the game of cheaters. Players found cheating in the game will now receive permanent bans, even if it is their first offense, starting immediately.
Following the introduction of new cheat detection methods in April, Ubisoft said they cracked down on more than 30,000 accounts for cheating last month, doling out 3,800 permanent bans in its "biggest wave of suspensions and bans to date."
"This led to a significantly improved experience, particularly in the Dark Zone," Ubisoft said. However, the developer admits that the new measures were not enough to address the endemic problem.
"Following this campaign of suspensions and bans, it also became clear that while huge progress has been made in terms of cheat detection, our 14 day suspension on first offense policy has not been dissuasive enough," the post reads. "Judging from your feedback, and based on what we witnessed when cheaters came back to the game, we have now decided to push our policy one step further: we will now start applying permanent bans on first offense when players are caught using cheat engines and we will communicate clearly when new ban waves are taking place."
While the developer does specifically mention plans to pull up players who use "cheat engines," it does not explicitly address whether exploiting glitches and bugs will get you kicked out of the game as well.
Still, Ubisoft's new aggressive stance will come as a welcome move for many frustrated fans who have threatened to leave the game due to a litany of issues, particularly its PC version.
So far, the average number of Division players plummeted by 59% from 65,065 players in March to 26,394 in April, according to Steam Charts. Player numbers took another 63% nose dive in May and has fallen another 14% so far in June. Peak player numbers have also dropped from 114,000 in March to a little more than 16,000 in June.
In April, players found cheating were handed a three-day suspension. If a player was found cheating a second time, he or she would be given a permanent ban. The suspension period was later bumped up to a 14-day ban for first time offenders when Ubisoft introduced its new anti-cheating measures.
Ubisoft recently implemented a similar policy on cheating in Rainbow Six Siege as well, following Blizzard's own announcement to clamp down on cheaters prior to the launch of its popular multiplayer shooter, Overwatch. Clearly, Blizzard is already making good on its earlier promise, having banned thousands of players in the two weeks since its launch with 1,500 in China alone.
The Division is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.