|"I've been enjoying online games for about 12 years. </p>
In every online game I've played sooner or later someone develops a hack (aimbot, speed hack, etc) and makes a little bit of money marketing it to other players. For a recent example see the Mass Murder hack for Battlefield 3: Mass Murder[^]
There are a couple of things that I understand:
That said, in the end a bunch of paying customers for a company are having their entertainment ruined by people who obviously have no interest in playing the game with any integrity. Time and time again I've seen hundreds, and even thousands of people, disrupted because of these sorts of hacks. This seems to be a threat to real people's livelyhood and it ruins the fun for many paying customers.
I know it seems draconian, but I'd like to see hard jail time for the people who develop these programs. Somehow, I think if I could program McDonald's coffee machines to spray the interior of restaurant that I'd get some jail time for that behavior. If I could program Ford automobiles to flash their lights randomly or cause city buses to be late there would also be severe punishment.
Maybe I'm getting old - but one thing I really dislike about the internet is the sub-culture that seems to feed off making other people's lives miserable. It would be nice to read about these "shops" getting busted up and some hacker kiddies getting slapped around a bit. I realize the hacks are not dangerous and these are games, it's just the opportunistic mindset of a n'vr-do-well that bugs me to no end.
It's like they wake up and think: Oh, a new game. How can I ruin it for thousands of people?
It seems pretty clear from the diversity and tone of the replies that there are two camps here. One of people who have become frustrated by a poor online experience, and the other who seem rather blase about it, to the point where I would have to assume, since they see nothing wrong with the practice, that perhaps they too have used these hacks. </p>
Aside from the likelihood that the hack-users are probably losers in real life (since one can only hold down a decent job for so long as an active fraud), they are also diminshing the community they play in. The most affected are those who are not themselves extremely skilled - who are also most likely newer players. If you deter newer players, then you shrink the hobby. If you shrink the hobby, then you end up with less places to play, and less opponents to face, until you are in a pool with nothing but other hackers.
Perhaps that is punishment enough - but it fails to address the real money and time invested by people trying to enjoy the hobby without cheating.
I recently followed a link to the Code Project's Lounge, where the following was posted: