We are pleased to announce that RaceRoom have become the first developer to speak out on cheating is sim racing after we issued our challenge earlier this morning via email.
The response was swift, dropping into our email boxes today at 15:18 pm (CET) from Sector3 Studios producer J-F Chardon.
We wrote in an open letter to devs that the community needed more transparency from the most popular and professional sim racing titles. Having emailed the staff and studios of iRacing, rFactor 2, Codemasters, Automobilista, Assetto Corsa and Raceroom at the same and declaring a race of it for answers.
For the record, long before the boom of this year in the sim racing scene, RaceRoom were offering valuable prizes and their leaderboards are packed with top-line real name drivers, big names too including Sheldon van Der Linde a BMW works driver as well as just about DTM driver in recent times.
Furthermore, they were among the first to pioneer manufacturer involvement in sim competitions on their portal, which are ongoing and also in need of policing.
Ultimately, with our three questions it was the Sweden based Sector3 Studios that stepped up first, with J-F doing the honours.
As a reminder, we asked each developer the same set of questions:
- What is each sim doing to police and ban cheaters?
- How many drivers are banned every month in relation to cheating per title?
- Are the developers prepared to co-operate in producing a Name & Shame list of drivers and IP addresses linked with cheating in the style of a credit bureau?
Answers to the three questions by RaceRoom’s J-F Chardon:
What is your sim doing to police and ban cheaters?
We are an always online service. Whenever you start RaceRoom, you connect to our servers. Sometimes it can be an annoyance when the service is down for a maintenance, or under heavy load, but it allows for all kinds of features and most of all to keep the service clean. Fighting off cheats is a never-ending battle of evolution, you have to make sure not to give away your methods to detect them because you would effectively render them obsolete on the spot. There are third party solutions that often come at a hefty price. After investigating those, it was clear to me that they are not a good enough solution, you find plenty of workarounds to all of those systems if you browse cheating communities. In most cases, they are only designed to make the cheating more difficult and annoying, but not impossible. So we ended up making our own system and we are pretty confident it’s very efficient because it’s tailored to our simulator and how we operate.
How many drivers do you ban every month for cheating related offenses?
There are not so many players who cheat in RaceRoom, because word has gone out that trying it gets your account banned, and when your account is banned for cheating, it is forever. So the accounts that I catch these days are fresh Steam accounts created for that purpose, players without any content purchases who just want to test the system. As those get banned, they get tired of it and the bans are now only around a dozen per month, always anonymous accounts. You can encounter cheaters on a free content multiplayer server, or during a free weekend for example, until they get banned for it.
Are you as developers prepared to co-operate in producing a Name & Shame list of drivers and IP addresses linked with cheating in a style similar to that of a credit bureau?
There are GDPR concerns to that, and even if it were legal to share this stuff, I really doubt it would be useful in the case of RaceRoom. IP’s are changed between each attempt, sometimes the same individual will try and change his IP through VPN, and the account names are not very useful to share because they are not using real names. It is free to create a Steam account. Look for example at the accounts of the last bans we have issued:
This is the kind of info about cheating that should be public knowledge, and now is. Next time I jump into RaceRoom I will have peace of mind that my leaderboard attempts are not in vain, as will sponsors, manufacturers and all drivers from pros to hobbyists.
Interestingly, J-F also highlighted three recently banned accounts, across which the average playtime on RaceRoom was around 15 minutes; the highest on an individual account just 17 minutes. That is an impressive crackdown and ban time for transgressors.
We commend and thank, with respect, RaceRoom and J-F Chardon for not only being the first to speak out, but to speak out in the first place and hope this marks a new age of transparency for simmers, for whom virtual racing is far more than a game.
We continue to await the responses of further developers as the clock continues to tick but the gold medal belongs to RaceRoom.