Tencent Games, the world’s largest gaming company, has banned nearly 270,000 “League of Legends” (LOL) players in the past two months, the company announced on its Weibo official account this week.
Nearly half of the accounts banned from the popular multiplayer online video game were found to be “boosting,” a process in which a skillful user plays on other accounts to improve their rankings. Others were penalized for trolling and using illegal plugins to gain an unfair advantage.
Tencent aims to deter cheaters and the use of plugins that allows unfair gameplay. The company has been working with local law enforcement to crack down on criminal organizations involved in the development and distribution of cheating plugins for its hit game “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” (PUBG). The investigation resulted in the arrests of some 30 suspects in November in the eastern province of Zhejiang.
Last April, the game publisher rolled out a credit rating system in its popular games—including League of Legends, Honour of Kings, and PUBG—to evaluate each player based on various criteria including their behavior on the platform. Negative behavior like cheating and trolling could negatively affect players’ scores.
To send a clear message to those engaging in illegal activities in its video games, the company has also named and shamed offenders on its website.
Cheating is common with popular online video games like LOL, which has over 100 million monthly players worldwide, but it is an even more prominent problem in China.
According to Tencent-owned Riot Games, the creator of LOL, in the last three years more than 7 million accounts worldwide were banned for scripting, a common way to cheat that involves using external programs to execute inputs or counter abilities on the player’s behalf. Of those, 5 million were from China.
In Jan. 2018, the company helped Chinese police find 120 suspects that were allegedly responsible for developing similar programs. Tencent has also implemented anti-cheating measures via software like BattlEye in its popular titles.