Wall hackers? Not on intel’s watch

Cheaters are among the most reviled species in the gaming habitat, and many have tried with various degrees of success to exterminate them, The newest addition to the hunting party is Intel, which recently unveiled a way to make cheating a whole lot more difficult. Rather than try to detect cheats with third party software, Intel has proposed a hardware solution. At the company’s recent Research@Intel day, researchers showed off a new project called Fair Online Gaming, a mix of hardware, firmware and software designed to detect cheaters in multiplayer games, It’s an opt-in system that players choose to enable when they want to ensure Lord_Deathballz simply has killer aim rather than killer aimbots.

It works by monitoring input devices and network traffic and spotting any irregularities. So, for example, if the system detects a difference between a player’s keyboard input and what’s actually happening on-screen, it flags the player as the dirty aimbotting scoundrel that he is.

In theory, anyway. At this stage it’s just a research project with potential, and has a number of practical issues to overcome. Incorporating the technology into enough PCs to make it feasible would take years and be a huge logistical operation. With Fair Online Gaming tied to Intel, there’s also the business side of things: if the technology runs at the chipset level, what about people running non-Intel hardware? And do we really want a piece of hardware monitoring how we play?

The other downside is that Fair Online Gaming wouldn’t be completely crack-proof itself. Intel freely admits that determined cheaters would be able to circumvent the system by physically modding their PCs. Still, while that effort and expenditure might not dissuade the chronically ego-driven, it might help cut down the numbers of preteen hackers who have more time than money.