More than 20,000 Korean Overwatch players have recently been banned from the shooter for cheating, Blizzard has confirmed. The news comes by way of a post on the game’s official forums that provides a full percentage breakdown of how many players were banned in the most recent swing of the banhammer and for those who’s accounts were scrubbed from existence throughout the course of 2016, although it’s all in Korean, so you’re probably best off seeing the translation on Reddit (via Polygon).
As far as the most recent wave of suspensions goes, though, precisely 22,865 players were banned over the course of January, with unauthorized use of third-party programs cited as the illegal activity being punished. The translated statement from a member of Blizzard’s Korean team reads:
Creating and delivering a pleasant game environment for the majority of good players is of paramount importance to us and we are committed to taking all the steps we can take to create, distribute and use our programs. We are also aware of the fact that our programs are circulated through various communities, and we will prepare countermeasures.
If you’re wondering why cheating is far more rampant overseas than it is here, the problem largely comes down to the popularity of internet cafes in South Korea. As Polygon notes, since computers found in such establishments leave no trace of hacking once a user has rebooted the PC, it’s incredibly difficult to pin down who it is that’s causing all the trouble, let alone ban them. That subsequently leaves unsavoury players free to use all sorts of third-party apps that interfere with the game, including those that cause the same problems as DDoS attacks.
Given how hugely popular Overwatch is across the globe, it’s hardly surprising that a portion of its playerbase resorts to cheating in order to win, and while it appears to be a particularly big problem in South Korea, other cheat tools such as ‘aim bots’ are often used worldwide to gain an unfair advantage. We’ll see if Blizzard follows the recent bans up with a more permanent solution in the future, but in the meantime, most players are currently enjoying Overwatch‘s Year of the Rooster event.
If you’ve yet to secure all of the new cosmetic items, you’ve only got until February 13 to do so!