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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Hogan

From Ninja Gaiden and Pokemon, to Tuesday night game nights and Overwatch

When did you first get into gaming?

When I was younger, I loved watching my brothers play games like Prince of Persia: Sands of time and Ninja Gaiden. I got my first Gameboy and played games like Pokemon for a while but then I played games like Fable and I think that's when my love for the roleplaying fantasy genre truly ignited.

What’s your favourite game at the moment?

I’ve been playing a lot of Overwatch recently on my Tuesday night game nights. I think it has really interesting player dynamics and constantly needing to adapt your tactics and characters during the game to counter the other team can be challenging but a lot of fun.

Why do you think gaming has become so big with so many different groups of people?

There’s such a variety of games, stories and playstyles out there that everyone can find something they enjoy, whether that’s relaxing Stardew style games, tactical shooters, action role-playing, VR or family games. For me, finding myself fully immersed in amazing worlds that have taken incredible imagination to design, really detailed graphics that bring the game to life and fascinating and engaging stories are just some of the things that make gaming so magical.

What did you do before you worked at Intorqa?

I worked as a Customer Support Officer for a charity providing home improvements and adaptations to peoples houses if they were disabled or elderly. They could be smaller things like providing a handrail or helping fix things around the house or larger adaptations such as wetrooms or stairlifts.

What attracted you to the role at Intorqa?

I’ve always loved the idea of being involved in the gaming industry in some way and having the opportunity to improve the gaming experience by making games fairer and safer was a really interesting and exciting prospect that I wanted to be a part of. I can’t wait to see what the future of gaming will be and I hope that by making it fairer it will help keep that gaming magic and encourage more people to explore gaming.

Describe your role and job?

So as a Research Executive the job is quite varied but can involve leak monitoring, researching cheat landscapes, monitoring cheat vendors and communities and creating client reports. Cheats are always evolving and so too are the vendors and communities so we need to stay well informed and knowledgeable about the landscape which allows us to deliver a high quality, up-to-date and relevant service to our clients.

Does the amount of cheating in video games surprise you?

Yes. To me, part of the joy of gaming is finding your way through the puzzle or challenge, whether that’s figuring out the answer, finding a way to play better as a team or changing up your tactics to gain the advantage. Cheating takes that away, there’s not that immersion or feeling like you’ve worked hard, improved and earned the win, so for me, it sucks the fun out of gaming.

Why do you think people cheat and spend money doing it?

I think it can depend on the type of game being cheated. In multiplayer I think it gives people a sense of power and control and I guess it also gives an adrenaline rush, the excitement of completely dominating the competition. Sometimes it’s because they want to unlock parts of the game that aren’t normally available to them or have to pay for, or get past game mechanics they don’t like. I think some of it is image - there’s almost an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality where they don’t want to pay or feel ‘subservient’ to large corporations and they consider gaming companies to be amongst them.

Had you encountered cheating in video games much before you started working at Intorqa? Did you know much about it?

I had encountered some and whilst I did know a bit about cheating, I hadn’t realised just how deep it went; how many cheats and communities there are out there and just how organised the cheat vendors are. I hadn’t really thought of them like a business until I started working at Intorqa which completely changed the way I saw cheating.

As you’ve got to know the category more, what surprises you most about the cheating and exploits you come across?

I think the resolve of the cheat vendors to keep up to date and constantly adapt to the anti-cheat systems and just how large and far reaching some of these communities and networks are.

What one thing could publishers do that would help control cheating?

I think the biggest thing is to stay up to date with what the cheat vendors and communities are doing, what they’re planning and how or why things are changing so that the anti-cheat can be constantly updated and evolved.

What do you see as the next big thing in video game cheating?

With the ever increasing popularity and usage of AI, I would think AI would become a powerful tool to help with cheating, in the automation and optimization of cheat processes and configurations. In fact, I posed this question to Chat GPT and it believes that running games in virtual machines might be the next big thing so it may even steer the next trend.

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