2006-06-20: Concerning the concerns about Punkbuster

Concerning the concerns about Punkbuster

Jun 20 2006 12:23PM

This was originally posted to Development at [1]

We thought this announcement would incite quite a discussion, and yes, indeed, it did. There are some misconceptions I want to clear up and some key questions I want to make sure are answered. As you think about this change, please keep these items in mind (and I’m going to re-state some things I’ve already stated elsewhere)...

  1. I completely understand concerns about computer security and privacy. I wouldn’t put PunkBuster on my own machine at home (yes, the one with all my financial and personal records) if I didn’t feel safe about it. PunkBuster has been around for 10 years and almost single-handedly saved the multiplayer shooter genre from being torn apart by hackers and cheaters. In that time, we can’t find one instance of someone’s privacy being violated. EA has sold millions of copies of the Battlefield franchise all over the world, and 90% of BF players play on PB protected servers. In all that time, not one person has submitted a valid customer service complaint about a privacy or security violation.
  2. Everyone concerned about privacy should read PunkBuster’s privacy policy at... Keep in mind that if PunkBuster betrayed even one gamer’s trust, people would stop using it, game makers would stop supporting it, and it would be the end of that business. It is in PunkBuster’s best interest to protect the privacy of its players. They have been doing that for 10 years now with millions of satisfied customers.
  3. UO’s subscription fees will not be going up.
  4. We haven’t decided what shard or shards will be non-PunkBuster yet. We want to see the results from the beta test first, as well as collect feedback.
  5. As for performance, let me re-state... If beta testing proves that PunkBuster has performance issues for a large number of players, we will consider another anti-cheat solution. Beta testing should start in mid-July.
  6. As for the screenshots, it will only take shots of the actual game screen window, not anything else on your desktop. And, it does that only rarely. This feature of PunkBuster is mostly used to verify cheats that turn walls invisible or somehow alter the battleground to the cheater's advantage.

I hope that alleviates some of your concerns. I’m sure discussions and debate will continue, and we will continue to answer questions about this as often as we can.

Meanwhile, as for that other announcement, the in-game story cycle is getting very close to the moment of revelation. The last few steps will be challenging, but I’m betting players see the future before the end of June.

See you in Sosaria,