Why do people hack video games? What makes cheaters tick? Why would gamers want to cheat in their favorite video games? This article is based on self-reported poll data primarily, but we will also include our experience in working in the game cheating industry and our understanding of human nature before coming to any kind of conclusion. – While self-reporting is nowhere close to a reliable source of information, so not quite scientific, it is none the less the best source of data we have to determine why people chose to use game hacks.

why gamers cheat poll 1

The Poll Data

Our data comes from the HackerBot primary YouTube channel and was collected using 2 different polls over 2 years, each getting over 200 votes from people that watch our channel, therefore are extremely likely to have cheated in video games at some point in their lifes.

As is immediately obvious, an overwhelming majority of people seems to report using cheats to either save money or time (roughly 80%), with roughly 50% wanting to save time and roughly 30% wanting to save money. However, knowing modern games, especially Android and iOS mobile games, chances are that usually people are looking to save both time and money simultaneously, as time-gating content is the main way to drive micro-transaction revenue in modern online games.

Roughly 7% want to ‘win’ or perform ‘better than others’, another roughly 7% seem to want to do it just for fun (trolling, just because they can), 5% admit that they suck at the game without cheats, and there may of course be other reasons that were not included in any poll (keeping in mind you only get 5 options on YouTube polls).

why people use game hacks poll 2

What does this Data mean?

Data has to be interpreted: Of course the data does not mean that these are actually the reasons why people download game hacks and cheat in video games, rather it means that these are the reasons they report. Also one needs to consider the audience polled, which leans heavily towards mobile gaming, as covering for example online shooter game hacks is simply not something you can do on YouTube these days.

Of course justifying cheating in a random mobile game with trying to save time and money is much more believable than using an aimbot in an online multiplayer shooter.

Game Hacking in non-Pay-to-Win Games

For online multiplayer shooters and other games that do not feature any sort of time-gating or heavy incentives to buy microtransaction resources, we can simply eliminate the corresponding option from the poll and get around 20% that want to win, around 15% that know they suck without cheats, 15% that do it for the laughs, 20% that want to troll, around 20% do it just because they can and around 10% have other reasons.

In games that are not heavily incentivizing microtransactions, the data is much more concerning, as most morally understandable justifications are eliminated. However, this article is about data and not about the morals or game hacking and these

why people use aimbots poll 1

Why people use Aimbots

Here are the preliminary results from our poll concerning the use of aimbot software and other auto aiming tools and hacks for online multiplayer shooters. So far it seems clear that in shooters and specifically concerning the use of aimbots, the prevalence of trolling and griefing is much higher than in other sorts of games. You can find all the polls on our YouTube channel under the community tab.

Conclusion

Generally, this data confirms our impression and experience we have working in the game hacking industry: Most people see themselves pressured into either spending a lot of time, spending a lot of money or hunting down cheats in order to get the same benefits. – It also matches our experience of a small percentage of ‘toxic cheaters’ using mods to troll and these are usually the people that a good anti-cheat system will automatically ban. Some people will simply want to perform better, as would be the case in heavily skill-based games and some people use game hacks as a crutch for lack of skill, though it can be assumed that the actual percentage of people using cheats because they ‘suck’ is much higher in reality, as only few people will be humble enough to self-report sucking at video games.

Overall, the reality in any specific game will be vastly different from these results: As an example MOBA players will be much more likely to want to win, rather than save time due to the competitive nature of MOBA genre games and mobile gamers will likely be even more likely to want to save money and time, but it is still a useful data set to start from when trying to understand why people cheat in games in general and can be adapted to specific games.

We may collect more data in the future and update this article accordingly.

 

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About the Author

Samuel Steiner, nickname ‘Sammy’ (he/him/his), is the original founder of HackerBot.net. A programmer, online marketer and nerd by trade, Samuel has extensive experience using game cheats of all kinds from his youth and knows the intricacies of game cheating software development due to working in the game hacking industry for over 8 years. He fights against ableism and ableist discrimination in gaming and fights for tolerance, diversity and equality in the space.