There’s no doubt that Call of Duty has become one of the most popular FPS games in the world, and while it’s popularity has been stellar, it’s come with some downsides. The chats often highlight the dregs of humanity, with racist and offensive language being all too common on text and voice, along with widespread cheating feeling all too commonplace in the game.

Today Activision announced that they are taking a much harder stance on at least one of those issues with a new Kernel level anti-cheating system called Ricochet, designed to eradicate the majority of in-game hacks that ruin the multiplayer gaming experience for many.

I have to admit, it’s hard not to go in to a tirade against cheaters in this article, but needless to say, they are thoroughly despised by the real gamers who look to beat their opponents on skill alone. So for many, the news of a much-hardened anti-cheat system is welcomed.

The new Ricochet anti-cheat system adds several new layers of anti-cheat technology to the game.

On the server side the Ricochet anti-cheat system will provide deeper insights and analysis of player behavior to proactively highlight cheating, along with adding in an enhanced investigative process to identify and block cheaters from the game.

At a kernel level we’re likewise seeing a much stronger client-side push to prevent users from utilizing third party hacks that allow hackers to replace skill with software. Currently it looks like any attempts at cheating will prevent the user from playing on any multiplayer instance.

For some gamers however the kernel level anti-cheat system comes with a slight feeling of dread, it’s not been unknown for unscrupulous publishers to incorporate intrusive DRM that has opened up backdoors, caused excessive system slowdowns, and in some cases bricked computers when they mis-identified. While Activision hasn’t provided too much information on how this anti-cheat software may impact systems in a negative way

Many gamers still remember cases such as Denuvo, who provided a DRM service to publishers (that many swiftly dropped). While they consistently claimed that their DRM had no impact on performance, tests from users and publishers alike noted significant issues with game performance.

While there’s some risks here, Activision has made it so Ricochet will only be active and running while a game is being played, so it really should not impact other software, they are also strongly requesting user feedback, especially on identifying cheaters, showing a continued aggressive push to build systems that block new hacking techniques.

The final downside of the new security system is that it is currently PC only. While this is a good step forward, it doesn’t address cheaters on consoles.

From our perspective, Ricochet is a great move forward in addressing cheating, time will tell on just how well this is implemented, and we’re hoping to see The big consoles allow similar anti-cheat systems in the future, if Activision maintains a non-intrusive cheat protection mindset.