Since people have played games, they have always looked for a way to ensure they could win. There have been legendary sports cheating scandals, famous videogame cheat codes, and of course many people have sought ways to cheat the system when it comes to gambling, too. Everyone knows about the famous card counting schemes used in blackjack, but did you know that not long ago a Russian hacker figured out how to predict the spin outcome of certain slot machines? 

Yes, there are a lot of people out there looking for ways to improve their chances of winning. As an Xbox gamer, you have probably encountered some questionable opponents in games and wondered if they were breaking the rules to win. On the other hand, you may have used some Xbox cheat codes or even hacks yourself to improve your game. While cheating in video games may not be uncommon, it does beg the question; is it morally acceptable to cheat in gaming? 

The answer isn’t as simple as you might think, and we will explore why in this article.

Cheating in Video Games

Let’s start by taking a look at the history of cheating in video games, and then we’ll dive into how it has impacted Xbox gaming in particular.

Cheat Codes

When it comes to video games, cheating has basically existed since the very start. Even in the earliest video games, developers would include cheat codes to simplify testing processes before releasing the game to the public. For example, in the 1983 game “Manic Miner”, gamers could enter cheat code 6031769 to unlock a cheat mode of the game. This number was actually based on game developer Matthew Smith’s driver’s license number and was later used in the PC version of Grand Theft Auto to unlock unlimited lives.

Cheat codes like these could help simplify game testing, but also became fun for players to uncover to unlock new features of the game. Some early games would even advertise these cheat codes to entice gamers. Early PC games also implemented programmable features in which gamers could freeze the game and reprogram some small aspect of game before re-launching. Like cheat codes, these cheats were built into the game and therefore seen as permissible.

There have been many famous cheat codes built into games over the years; likely you’ve used a few yourself. Pretty much anyone who played The Sims has used the Rosebud cheat code to accrue money in the game. Afterall, the point of Sims is to buy and build cool stuff; who wants to make their Sims hold down an actual job? There’s also the famous DK mode in Goldeneye 007, which would make everyone’s head look bigger in the game. Not only is it pretty funny to have a bunch of players running around looking like Donkey Kong, it makes it easier to land headshots.

Game Modification and Bots

Just as there have been cheat codes since the beginning, there have been people seeking ways to modify the game they are playing to increase their chances of winning. This is where things become more dicey. Especially as eSports becomes increasingly competitive, the use of assistive cheats to win is problematic and widely shunned by the gaming community. In recent years there have been some major cheating scandals in eSports, which can sometimes result in a lifetime ban from the game.

One of the most controversial cheats is the use of “aimbots”. As one might imagine, aimbots automatically line up the player’s shot in shooter-style games, allowing players to easily take out opponents with no skill involved. Counter Strike, Overwatch, Fortnite, and many other games have been plagued by aimbot usage, making it necessary for game developers to crack down hard when this type of cheating is discovered.

Other famous cheating scandals have involved match fixing, various forms of game modification, and even old-fashioned “screen looking” (when you look at another player’s screen to see what they’re doing). The punishments have varied from severe (lifetime bans) to rather hilarious (requiring YouTube apologies from offenders).

Xbox Underground

When it comes to video game cheating and Xbox, the single most important story is that of the Xbox Underground. It’s a long story, but a fascinating one, about how a number of young men collaborated to hack Xbox games using Xbox development motherboards that were discovered in a recycling facility. With this powerful key in hand, a group of hackers who would later dub themselves “The Xbox Underground” were able to modify popular games like Call of Duty and Gears of War. They would charge fees to allow players to enter modified game lobbies, or sell “infections” of the game, which would allow players to bring their hacked powers into non-modified campaigns.

Not only was this distressing for game developers, and frustrating for gamers who weren’t cheating, but it resulted in some serious breaches of security. In fact, when the hackers pillaged Zombie Studios, they stumbled upon an Apache helicopter simulator that was being developed for the US Military. Ultimately, they all ended up serving time in prison.

Is XBox One “Cheat Proof”?

Nowadays, there are gamers who are literally making millions of dollars off of their gaming skills. Thus, the pressure is on for developers to police cheaters, but it’s also become important that XBox One be as “hack proof” as possible. 

In the case of “designer permitted” cheats (i.e. cheat codes), there is no issue in implementing these features when gaming with Xbox One. However, for those looking to modify the game in a more serious fashion, it takes some serious know-how about both software and hardware. This article explains just how difficult mods and hacks are with Xbox One. Overall, these strict security policies are designed to retain the integrity of XBox gaming, and to avoid similar security threats as the ones that were posed by the Xbox Underground.

So…. What Qualifies as Cheating?

Having read this article, you may still be thinking to yourself: Hang on… I still don’t know if cheating in video games is good or bad. The answer remains that it’s a grey area. If you’re using some cheat codes provided for you by the game developers to enhance the experience than it’s likely that you’re doing nothing wrong. But, if you are cheating by eliminating a skills-based component of the game to beat your opponents on XBox Live, you have to admit that’s pretty unfair.

So, in short… if you love the game you play, focus on increasing your skill at it instead of spending oodles of time and money trying to find a way to cheat. Not only will you have more fun this way, but it will ensure you don’t get banned from the game.