The unification of Koreas can’t happen fast enough

Great news from South Korea: “account training” aka playing on someone else’s account to increase its power or rating is a criminal activity. I always wrote that video game piracy and cheating should be considered a crime, the same way as cheating in the casino or using steroids in sports are.

I’m glad that the country with the strongest video game community – and by extension the biggest share of GDP in the industry makes it true.

I’m also happy that hardware ID bans become more common.

Why is the title: because South Korea is the 11th biggest economy of the World. If it would unite with North Korea, the resulting country would have twice the size, 1.6x the population and one of the richest country in minerals. They could become a top 5 country, which would mean their voices would be stronger in international treaties. They could more effectively demand other countries to protect the rights of Korean video game developers by strict laws against cheaters, pirates and riggers. That would be good for everyone (except cheaters, pirates and riggers).

Author: Gevlon

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10 thoughts on “The unification of Koreas can’t happen fast enough”

  1. If only more countries would do this! Alas most hide behind “it’s just a game” argument.

    Somewhat topic related: Do you think using a non-official mod in an online game is cheating as basically it gives a player an upper hand / improved experience / unfair playing field over others who don’t use it? As an example, say something as simple as a UI layout adjustment.

    I once raised that point in my blog as I am against it in all forms in online gaming. In the case of the UI layout, that means the mod-player has better visibility than the non-mod player.

    A number of people sided for it though, so I just thought it might be interesting to hear your stance on it at some point. 🙂


  2. @Joseph Skyrim: I have a straightforward position on this: the game dev decides if mods are fine or not. If they allow or even support it, it’s OK, if they reject it, it’s cheating. Sure, as a player you have the same power and reject moddable games for being decided on the mod level.


  3. @Joseph Skyrim:
    I think the biggest problems with mods can be easily see in World of Warcraft. The main problem is that players will use mods in ways which is not intended by the development team beforehand, and which will makes the game much easier than intended. Then the developer has to decide: they restrict the API more (which results in backlash) or let it be and design and balance the game with the mod in mind. But in the latter case the mods will not be an optional but mandatory thing. Of course in the long run they can just implement the mod into the default UI. I think WoW’s instance encounter would looks much-much different if addons would not be part of WoW.


  4. “We do HWID bans. And we ban HWID scramblers. We also ban by IP, but you have to becareful with that because most people are on DHCP.”

    The incompetence in this statement hurts. For reference, DHCP handles IPs in your *internal* network (typically 192.168.x.y), they have nothing to do with your external IP, that is given to you by your provider. Alas, banning the external IP is worthless too, because ISPs usually give you a new IP every 24h or every time you restart your router.

    Sadly, “HWIDs” or hardware fingerprints or whatever else they call them don’t work either, because it’s trivial to tell your OS to simply lie about your hardware configuration.

    Though on the government level, the issue itself is pretty easy to fix. Just issue online IDs to everyone in your country and require every game account to be linked to that ID.


  5. @Hanura: I think that’s what he meant: since the individual player gets a new IP, banning his IP is worthless.

    On the second, HWID scramblers are doing that and I guess they can be caught, that’s why they can ban them.


  6. @Gevlon: if you could just detect “HWID scramblers” then you could just detect the cheating programs and insta ban people. But the problem of detecting them is *harder*, not easier. With cheating programs you can at least detect that they manipulate something inside the games memory, or that they make the player act super-humanly fast.

    But how do you verify that the hardware really is what it pretends to be? Unless technology like intel’s trusted computing becomes commonplace, it’s just not possible.


  7. The cheating and botting problem is very much resource based: large games like WoW can develop tools to combat it. The one that seems to be working is simply requiring the player to run a Trojan type program within the client that monitors other processes and spies on possible bots/cheats. As far as I know it works pretty well in WoW and botting was limited. The technology is spreading and there are less bot farms in most popular games.

    As for Koreas, I’m not so sure. Unification is great in the long term but it will require massive resources from the South to bring the North to their technological level. What’s worse, the North are different people. This creates distinct electorates that can be targeted in future elections meaning democracy will no longer work in the unified Korea. It will be more of a us-them contest, like with race in the US.

    Look at the UK where the Scottish National Party simply removed democracy from the North of the country. The Scots don’t vote on policies anymore, they vote for Scots versus the English (even if the candidates of the traditional parties are Scots themselves).

    Now, Scotland has some 10% population and Parliament seats. North Korea would have 30% or so, based on the respective populations. Can you imagine how ruthless politicians can abuse 30% of electorate who never had anything to do with electoral process and have no idea on how to “read” politicians. And are poor, uneducated and bitter, to boot.

    SK should not unite. They should leave the North as a separate country for 50 years or so, while giving them all the possible support for economic regrowth and sensible politicians. But they should stay separate to keep their superior political system safe.


  8. I’ve always wondered why companies don’t use statistics-based bans. If an individual has a certain stat of headshots/kills per minute/whatever, the chances of them being legit is known based on common use cases. If they are not in the acceptable range, they get banned. For example, there is no human alive that can get 50 kills in PUBG unless they’re cheating or stat padding, and that should be immediately bannable no questions asked. If someone gets over X% of headshots and/or Y kills per match, it is an outlier and they’re banned. The trouble is then people who only cheat sometimes, for the last 10 minutes in a match maybe, but that is also a stat that can be seen and reliably banned if they have 100% winrate. If they don’t have 100% winrate because they turn off the cheat to not get banned, they begin to play as a “normal” person and I think the problem is solved either way.


  9. @Anon: the main problem (which I do NOT recognize as a problem) that EVERY SINGLE banned cheater goes whining that he’s innocent. If cheat program is found in his machine, he can whine. However he can always claim that he is THAT good or was “just lucky” and there are always buttkissers who believe him. Think of the streamers who often has very high stats and while I agree that they are cheating some way (mostly by employing followers as purposeful dead), them being banned on stream and then whining would be bad PR.

    I would still do it of course.


  10. As much as I hate cheaters…
    What is the exact problem that this law is attempting to address? Is placing highly on some game’s leaderboard going to result in an important job? Do we crown them king?

    We can’t possibly be arguing that this is being done to protect people having fun because that would open the door to punishing all sorts of inanity. Inside of esports is a slightly different kettle of fish, but I suspect the hiring process is a bit more involved than “Rank 1 on the ladder? Sign this contract and play for us!”. Having the government involved in punishing this in any country leads to all sorts of questions about enforcement. What if the two countries have different rules? Could you imagine being extradited to serve a sentence in a country you’ve never set foot in?

    It might work for SK, but they already have much stricter controls on their networks than some(most?) other countries do. I just think this is significantly more messy than it’s being given credit for.


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