Cheating in Games Is Like a Virus, says Research

According to a research paper written by Jeremy Blackburn at the University of South Florida in Tampa, cheating spreads like a virus through a gaming community. His findings were based on data collected about more than 12 million gamers connected to Steam — of which 700,000 were flagged as cheaters — and the in-game interaction data of over 10,000 players from a popular multiplayer gaming server.

Blackburn’s three major conclusions were:

Cheaters stick together. Cheaters tend to be friends with other cheaters.

Cheating is infectious. The more cheaters an honest player knows, the more likely he is to become a cheater.

Cheaters are ostracized. Players labeled as cheaters tend to lose friends, as though they are being quarantined.

Do you cheat, or know any cheaters? If so, can you corroborate those findings?

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5 Comments on Cheating in Games Is Like a Virus, says Research


On January 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I think it spreads due to the “kid” gamer. The “kid” is the gamer who feels like they need to prove something to the online community by having all the “good stuff” handed to them, without working for it. I am a 30 something gamer and never cheated or boosted. I know that stats don’t really matter and I’m in the game to have fun. Yes I like to win, but can take a loss too.

The whole entitlement thought to “kids” these days is lame. Work for what you want and its that much better when you get there.

Garyn Dakari

On January 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I know a cheater. At least I’m 99.9% sure I do. On Steam I noticed in my “Community Updates” that a friend of mine suddenly got ALL 394 achievements for Team Fortress 2, ALL AT ONCE. Yup, sounds legit. Then I checked the stats on all his other games, like Modern Warfare, Portal, ect. Sure enough, he had every achievement on every game.

And I doubt he got any/many of those legally.


On January 2, 2012 at 7:20 pm

@ Garyn yeah he cheated

Youtube Steam Achievement Manager. It use was ll the rage during the Holiday Steam Achievement Giveaway.


On January 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I don’t like cheaters, when it comes to mmo’s, or mutliplayer entertainment it is vary disrespectful.

The only time I accept cheating is with trainers in single player, if im stuck in a game then it can be the only option before you abandon that game.

So that is where I have issues with blizzard since last I checked you can get your multiplayer status denied if you cheat in single player games witch is just mind blowing, I’m told they do that because of the achievements but I’m sure they could of figured out away to just turn off that feature when turning on a cheating mode like some games have.

I'm Batman

On January 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I used to be a cheater; then I took an arrow to the knee.

I cheat in singleplayer games. Nothing wrong with that. Multiplayer cheating is wrong, and yeah, multiplayer cheaters are frowned upon heavily by the rest of a game’s community. Lots of vigilante policing goes on.