NEWS - Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Cheaters threaten success of XBL

DALLAS, Texas -- Tony Ray knows how cheating can ruin a good time online. The 35-year-old Houston software developer was a video gamer who regularly conquered rivals on the game "Team Fortress." Then, opposing teams started acquiring supernatural powers. Their perfect aim just wasn’t humanly possible. Rogue players have plied Internet-based games for years, but now there are hackers who write programs that give them perfect aim in shooting games. Microsoft and Sony have just launched online gaming networks for their Xbox and PlayStation2 consoles. They fear such cheats could ruin an entertainment form still in its infancy. The revenue potential is huge for online gaming. It may reach some 10 million households by 2005. Microsoft and Sony have just launched online gaming networks for their Xbox and PlayStation2 consoles and officials of the two companies say their consoles were designed from the hardware up to thwart cheating. Broadband-only Xbox Live, which expects to offer 14 multiplayer games and have 100,000 subscribers by year’s end, uses a secure network to keep out cheaters, said Cameron Ferroni, Xbox product manager. "The number one thing we worked really hard to prevent is anyone from running code that we haven’t authorized," he said. "You can’t just go in like you can in a PC." Sony, meanwhile, is banking on its experience with "EverQuest," a PC-only online world with nearly a half-million dragon-slaying and treasure-seeking players. Catch the rest here


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