You've often heard us reiterate that one of Blizzard’s core values is "Play nice; play fair." As part of that, we always strive to preserve the integrity of our game environments for our players, and when necessary, take serious action against hacks, cheats, and behaviors that keep players from enjoying our games to the fullest.

We know how frustrating it can be to find yourself in the cross-hairs of someone with an unfair advantage—so today, we’d like to go over some of our ongoing measures to curb cheating behaviors in Overwatch, as well as provide an update on our account policy designed to make sure the Overwatch battlefield remains a fair and fun place to play.

Read on for more information.

Technical Solutions, Monitoring, and Account Bans

It’s an unfortunate reality that clever people will never stop coming up with new ways to exploit games, but Blizzard has teams dedicated to investigating and analyzing cheats and hacks as they arise, as well as developing ways to detect and counteract them. While we can’t get into the technical details to avoid giving away our own secrets, these countermeasures have taken many forms, including patches, behind-the-scenes networking and server-related updates, and much more.

We’re frequently making updates—many of which you aren’t even aware of—to improve our detection capabilities and thwart new cheating programs as they arise. And when we do detect cheating or exploitative behavior, we take rigorous action against it, and have been steadfastly improving our real-time monitoring capabilities to catch exploitative player behavior.

Actions Against Developers & Distributors of Cheat Methods

Often, the most effective way to combat cheating is to combat the source. In many real ways, the development and distribution of cheating programs has an even greater negative impact on the game than the use of these programs. It’s critical for us to be able to maintain the integrity of our games, and for that reason, we will always seek to stop the development and distribution of these programs through whatever means we can—including taking legal actions against developers and distributors when necessary.

We're also looking for other ways to fight cheating that arise from factors external to the game environment. In the short term, we are taking action to address inappropriate IGR service companies that offer so-called VPN services, which cheaters use as a way to abuse the game. Account Policy

We’ve been listening to community concerns over foreign accounts without an Overwatch license being able to access the game in IGRs, and will soon be taking an action to curb that.

Effective February 17, 2017, we will be adjusting our account policy so that only players with valid game licenses in their account home region will be able to play Overwatch in Korea. The policy will be applied first to Overwatch, followed by Diablo III and StarCraft II at a later date. This means that accounts registered outside of Korea without the respective game licenses will not have access to those games, including in IGRs. Please note that the policy will not affect players who hold valid Korea-based accounts playing in IGRs. These players will still be able to play exclusively on Asia servers regardless of whether they have a permanent license.

Blizzard’s IGR services are designed for the unique IGR culture and environment in Korea. This approach will help us ensure we’re providing the best possible game experience for our community, while at the same time allowing us to address any unintended side-effects that occurred from allowing non-Korean accounts without game licenses to access Korean IGR services.

Ultimately, we’re making these adjustments to preserve the integrity of our games, support our community, and ensure a fair and equitable play environment for everyone. As always, we want to thank you for your passion, support, and commitment to helping us make Overwatch and all of our games the best they can be.

This post is a little confusing for those who don't understand Korea's video game market. An Internet Game Room (a.k.a. "PC Bang") is a internet gaming recreation facility where players can play popular video games like Overwatch without the need for their own PC or console or a fully-purchased game license. The trick about PC Bangs is that after each use, the computer's hard drive is wiped clean, which makes it relatively easy to install cheats on that machine. Now with Blizzard games in Korea, an account must be tied to the National ID number of that person (similar to a U.S. Social Security Number), so that if the account is banned for violations of the Blizzard Code of Conduct that player cannot create a new account.

The loophole that previously existed with PC bangs is that players could play from a PC bang and not require an account tied to Korea if they played outside of the region (such as the Americas). If they were banned for cheating, they would simply create a new account. Today, use of a PC bang requires a Blizzard Korea region account or have a fully paid license of Overwatch on that account, making this loophole no longer possible.