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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Hogan

'Gaming goes beyond entertainment; it's a way of making connections and nurturing communities'

When did you first get into gaming?

It all began with an NDS. When I was young, my parents got me the NDS, and from then on, playing Super Mario and Mario Kart became a cherished family tradition. As I grew older, I ventured into my first PC game, League of Legends, and I've been playing it ever since!

What’s your favorite game at the moment?

On weekdays, my first choice is definitely Cities Skylines 2. After a long day at work, I enjoy winding down with relaxing open sandbox games. They help clear my mind and let me focus on creativity and using my imagination while building a city. Before Cities Skylines 2 came out, I was hooked on Death Stranding and Hogwarts Legacy. I love the feeling of being able to be whoever I want in a game.

As for weekends, it's all about intense FPS gaming with my friends. Apex and Rainbow Six are our top choices.

Why do you think gaming has become so popular around the world?

Gaming, much like music, holds a special place in my heart due to its ability to transcend boundaries and connect with diverse audiences. Its vast array of genres, from MMORPGs to FPS and Sandbox games, caters to individual tastes just as music genres do.

Also, for me personally, gaming goes beyond entertainment; it's a way of making connections and nurturing communities. It enables me to connect with individuals worldwide who share similar interests and aesthetics. Though we may be strangers in the real world, we unite, support one another, and collaboratively shape the gaming community. To me, this epitomizes the true beauty of gaming.

What did you do before you worked at Intorqa?

Before joining Intorqa, I pursued my studies in Marketing as a full-time international student. Before that, I grew up and lived in Hong Kong. I made the move to Newcastle for my Media, Communication, and Cultural Studies degree at Newcastle University. Following my undergraduate degree, I took a gap year in Hong Kong and worked as a Sales and Marketing intern at a publishing company. During this time, I was primarily responsible for designing event materials and creating social media graphics and content. It was during this experience that I decided to pursue a master's degree.

I eventually enrolled in the MSc Marketing program at the University of Strathclyde and recently graduated with merit. In my spare time, I volunteer for various non-profit organizations in Hong Kong as a Graphic Designer and Digital Marketer. My role involves designing and crafting social media content and marketing plans to expand their reach and promote their values within society.

What attracted you to the role at Intorqa?

I've always wanted to work in the gaming industry. Back in college, Blizzard had an office right near my university, and it inspired me to be a part of it someday. Now, I'm happy that I'm not only in the industry but also helping make gaming safer and fairer. We all possess the power to enhance not just one game but numerous games. What could be even more fulfilling than helping the community in growing better and stronger?

Describe your role and job

As a research specialist, our primary responsibility is to closely track and document all developments within the cheat vendor and developer communities. This occasionally involves going undercover within these communities to engage with cheat users and gather information about cheat functionalities and vendor reviews. It can sometimes feel like I'm working as a spy!

Furthermore, I leverage my language and cultural skills to collect vendor and cheat-related data in Asia. This aspect of my role requires a deep understanding of the culture and language, and it's interesting to note how the cheat landscape varies between Western and Asian gaming communities. Check out our previous blog on the differences between the Western and Asian cheating markets -

Does the amount of cheating in video games surprise you?

Before joining Intorqa, cheaters were simply a source of annoyance, disrupting game balance and making it unfair. My knowledge of cheats was limited to a few functions like ESP or auto-aim, particularly because I'm an FPS gamer. However, I soon discovered that the cheat market is much more extensive and popular within the gaming community than I had ever anticipated. The sheer variety of cheat types and functions surprises me daily.

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

Absolutely. When gaming with my buddies in FPS games, we often find ourselves saying phrases like 'Did he just wall-shoot me?', 'How can he see me?' and 'There's no way he can one-shot me.' I believe many FPS gamers encounter these situations frequently. However, beyond the basic functionalities of some cheats, I didn't have much knowledge about cheating. So, after joining Intorqa, my understanding of the cheat market expanded significantly, especially its depth and complexity.

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

It's astonishing to see how much cheat vendors operate like legit businesses. Some larger vendors have well-structured and organized websites with dedicated teams for customer service, cheat development and marketing.

What could publishers do that would help control cheating?

I believe there are two crucial steps that publishers can take to combat cheating effectively.

Firstly, they should maintain a vigilant watch on cheaters' activities. This can be likened to a chess game between publishers and cheat developers. As the old saying goes, 'know your enemy and know yourself.' Publishers need to stay updated and gain a deep understanding of cheat vendors, enabling them to devise various strategies and methods to prevent cheaters within their games.

Secondly, education and the establishment of a dedicated team for handling cheat reports from players are essential. Some players may not even realize they are encountering cheaters, as some cheats appear incredibly subtle or can evade detection by anti-cheat systems. In such cases, publishers can educate the gaming community about cheating and encourage players to be part of the anti-cheat effort. Sharing gameplay replays from cheaters can be an effective way for players to learn more about cheating and contribute to its prevention.

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

AI is undoubtedly an influential trend. We've already witnessed AI-driven advancements in the FPS cheat market. These cheats use AI to learn and imitate aiming patterns, effectively emulating human behavior. This not only poses a challenge for detection but also raises concerns about the evolving landscape of cheating for gaming.

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