Playstation Cheating vs. Hacking
There are essentially two types of cheats on a computer-based console. There are the ones coded into the game that can either be accessed through a password or awarded to the player for completing certain objectives. These cheats are generally not game breaking and serve as an added layer of fun for people who want to experience the game in a different way. The reward for unlocking these cheats also serves as an additional challenge for players.
Then there is the kind of cheats used by players to gain an unfair advantage in multiplayer skirmishes. These are considered “hacks” and are brought into the game by outside programs and software. From invincibility hacks that prevent players from losing in fighting games to instant level ups in the Call of Duty games, these kinds of cheats are generally frowned upon by the community as a whole. There is an added level of meanness with certain hacks that prevent players from advancing in ranks and levels or resetting their progress altogether.
While this occurs less on consoles than on computers, there are still some groups and websites dedicated to enabling cheats and hacks on the PS3, which presumably means there will be more of the same for the PS4. While there will be better PSN security that will prevent hackers from ruining game experiences in the long run, there will probably be a niche community that thrives on beating the system with custom made cheats.
The point of the story is that different players have different responses to cheating, glitches, and even hacks for their favorite video games. The PlayStation 3 certainly had its fair share of hacks including software for the dashboard, individual games, and even the less than protected PSN. From a developer’s perspective, there isn’t a technological advancement in existence that could prevent hacks from happening.
A Bedtime Story
There is an achievement in the original Left 4 Dead that requires players to get gold medals in every single Survival level. Gold medals were handed out for not dying on the level for a minimum of 10 minutes, which often included at least 24 smokers, 19 hunters, 16 boomers, and seven tanks. Playing with friends barely got you over 10 minutes while playing with strangers often netted you exactly zero medals. There are some players on the leader boards that have over an hour in survival time on one map.
How? They cheated and used map glitches to make themselves invulnerable or invisible to the game’s zombie AI. This essentially gave those players medals for leaving their game running while everyone else had to fight back horde after horde in order to scrounge around for bullets and health kits. To some players, earning medals was a test of endurance and practice. Cheating the map and its intended challenge was totally unfair to legit players and devalued the purpose of Survival mode. Other players found those glitches to be an easy way to earn gold medals towards the achievement and exploited them whenever a new one was found.
End the Exploits
Exploits are not technically cheats unless the game’s community collectively agrees that using poorly thought out level designs is a big no-no in multiplayer games. Generally speaking, exploits either give one person or one team an unfair advantage over the other and while not game breaking in the same sense as hacks, using them is considered poor sportsmanship. Players don’t usually get banned for discovering and using exploits, even if they’re for a static rewards like replaying one level for massive experience points.
Exploits are not something the PlayStation 4 can protect itself against because it’s a software issue by level and system designers. Since these are made from different game companies, it’s akin to installing a new playground on the same piece of property. The kids will jump at the chance to play on the new levels and systems with the reckless abandonment of children. Kids break stuff and even the most anal game companies will not find every single exploit in a game during alpha and beta tests.
What tends to occur in games with a multiplayer component to the exploits (because let’s be honest, no one really cares about single player exploits except the person playing it) is that some communities and game servers will ban it. Other less competitive servers or leagues will not bother regulating it and players can go about their way deciding what “version” of the game they want to play. For the PS4, exploits will exist and they will either be praised for their ability to deliver clear advantages or shunned for its unsportsmanlike encouragement.
Go Away Glitches
Then you have your classic glitches, which depending on their nature, could either be annoying to game breaking. This is again not an exclusive problem with the PS3 or console gaming and can occur depending on how polished a game is when it comes out. While an exploit usually gives a player some sort of advantage (hence exploiting the game), a glitch occurs when that same error in systems and levels design does something it’s not suppose to without benefitting the player. For example, falling through a floor or having an AI script not complete its cycle is an example of a glitch.
For multiplayer games, negative glitches can be core functions not working properly or failing to apply the effects it says on the tin. If an upgrade grants a player 25% extra health and it fails to do so, it can be considered a glitch. Having a weaker-tiered weapon instantly kill opponents on a certain map while playing as a certain class would be another example of a glitch, which could expand into exploit territory if players choose to gain an advantage using it. For the PS3 and onwards to the PS4, glitches will appear and their level of cheat will range from poor coding to horrible problem in need of patching.
Mad About Mods
Now we come to console modifications, which can be considered hacks in the sense that owners dive into the guts of the PS3 to make things run a little smoother or a little more efficient. While there isn’t a huge market for console mods outside of maybe a HDD switch, there are some console owners who run their system Dr. Frankenstein style with bits and pieces everywhere. In terms of multiplayer gaming, console modifications don’t give a major advantage because hardware. That’s right, because hardware. No further explanation needed.
There isn’t really a software cheat that can be found in this approach because jail breaking software like the one used in the downfall the Dreamcast does not exist widespread. Your best cheat from console modifications is perhaps rolling back to an earlier firmware version. When it comes to the PS4, there might be console and software modifications that will run amok. However, this does not seem to be a major concern for the launch of the PS4.
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