Video gaming
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more

Gamers say China deserves a region lock in Apex Legends

Even Chinese gamers agree they should only be allowed to play with each other

Video gaming
This article originally appeared on ABACUS

It's not exactly surprising that fans of Apex Legends are asking the game’s developer to segregate Chinese gamers from the main community because they are tired of running into Chinese cheaters. After all, there have been similar calls from players of Fortnite, PUBG and other hit games before. But turns out, gamers in China also think it's a good idea to lock them out of international servers.  

It comes after Redditors on the official Apex Legends subreddit suggest that a “region lock” should be put in place so that players from China can only play among themselves. Game developer Respawn said they had recently banned over 355,000 cheaters. Many believe the cheaters are Chinese, and they have a good reason: PUBG’s creator once cited a study estimating that the majority of cheaters in the game were in China.
But it looks like many Chinese gamers actually feel ashamed about that reputation, judging from comments across gaming forums and social media.
One popular WeChat comment said, “I support region lock. Trash Chinese people cheat in every game they play. What a bunch of trash. We got a powerful country but our people embarrass ourselves worldwide.”

WeChat, the app that does everything

Another comment said, “As a Chinese, I could only say I can’t object to being locked. We deserve such punishment. Or maybe they should charge us rather than making it free-to-play.”
An alleged cheater, spotted by Chinese players. (Picture: DDDmouren/Bilibili)
Besides feeling humiliated, Chinese gamers also said cheat sellers have been spamming the game’s chat function with ads. A WeChat comment said, “When I join a squad, teammates are all trying to sell me cheats. They just keep talking and I almost died of having to hear it.”
While Respawn did not specify how many of the 355,000 banned users were from China, its concept artist Prog Wang revealed in an earlier Weibo post that the majority of cheaters do come from China, according to a company internal email. 

How Weibo became China’s most popular blogging platform

Wang also said the Chinese cheats industry has “exceeded the company’s understanding of what should be done with cheats”. He said since Apex Legends isn't officially available in China yet, the company can’t even take legal action against these hackers.

We contacted both Electronic Arts and Prog Wang for further statements. We'll update the story if we hear back. 

But one thing is for sure -- buying Apex Legends cheats in China is easy. Do a quick search on the country’s top chat apps and you'll find cheats being sold for anything from less than US$1 to as much as US$450.
It's not the first time we've heard demands from gamers asking for a region lock on China. But while PUBG players had lobbied for one for a long time, many ended up resenting it after it was finally introduced.

Some argued that it didn't solve the cheating issue because Chinese players can use VPNs to bypass region locks. They say it even exacerbated the problem because cheaters can now pick which geographical regions they want to play in. 

This cheat software hacks the game to show you the health, name and bounding box of your allies and enemies, which in turn helps you aim. (Picture: Pilaobantezhe/Taobao)

Some gamers, both inside and outside of China, now say they are losing interest in Apex Legends because of the cheating.

“Last game had a hacking team with players who had ‘hack" and ‘hacker’ in their names. They're not even trying to hide it,”  said one Redditor

“Plus they play terribly. Just stand around then lock on to every enemy's head,” he added.

For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters, subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast, and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report. Also roam China Tech City, an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus.