Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

In Which Countries Do People Cheat on Games The Most?

...and on which games do participants cheat the most?

Let us take a short break from traveling, miles, points, elite status, lounges, platypuses, and all of that other stuff to have some fun with games — which can be potentially beneficial for exercising the mind and reflexes — or, more accurately, cheating on games…

In Which Countries Do People Cheat on Games The Most?

…but which countries have the most gaming cheaters — and on which games do participants cheat the most?

To find out the answers to those questions and to determine which games have the most cheaters, games were ranked based on the number of views for videos related to cheating in each game on YouTube. All views for videos were tallied in the search results for the keywords “How to cheat” combined with the name of each video game. To find the search volumes for queries related to cheats by country, the total monthly Google search volumes for the keyword “cheats” were collected — combined with the name of the five most cheat-heavy video games using the matching terms section of the Ahrefs keyword explorer tool. Monthly search volumes were multiplied by 12 to estimate annual search volume and adjusted for the total number of internet users in each country.

This article from Surfshark gives more details about the preference of baths versus showers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada; and I have been given express written permission to use the graphs and the verbatim text from the aforementioned article in this article. While Surfshark has endeavored to ensure the information provided is accurate and current, it cannot guarantee it, as this information is general in nature only and does not constitute personal advice. Neither Surfshark nor The Gate accept any liability — and assume no responsibility — for any and all information which is presented in this article.

With that disclaimer out of the way, here is the article.

Which Games Have the Most Cheaters?

What do you do when a game frustrates you? Try, try, and try again?

Or do you head to YouTube to find a cheat? You wouldn’t be alone. More than 30 million people have watched YouTube videos offering Minecraft cheats alone. This makes it the most cheated among 32 big-name games SurfShark has discovered with millions of cheaters.

Each of these cheaters compromises the integrity of their favorite game. But they also compromise their online security, for example, when they follow YouTube video links to download ‘cheats’ but end up getting scammed or installing password-stealing malware.

Sometimes cheats cheat to raise their self-esteem or what Mia Consalvo, Professor in Game Studies & Design, calls “gaming capital” – their social status among their gaming peers. Sometimes they cheat just to get past a sticky part of the game.

And “the largest group of cheaters does it for the content,” according to Kyle Orland, Senior Gaming Editor at Ars Technica. “These are players who genuinely love the game and want to collect every single unlockable bit of it.”

But which games have the dubious honor of inspiring the highest levels of clout/competitiveness/hunger?

What We Did

Last year, SurfShark’s data analysts looked at Google and YouTube data to reveal “the online games with the most cheaters and the countries with the densest population of cheaters.” This year we’re updating our figures and tweaking the method to include a broader range of different games and platforms.

This year we took a seed list of the most popular gaming titles across different genres and collated the total number of views across the top “How to cheat” videos for each title — instead of focusing on just “Wallhack” and “Aimbot” videos for shooters. We then ranked them by ‘most cheated overall’ and by genre.

Key Findings

  • Minecraft is the world’s most cheated game, with 30,560,700 YouTube views of Minecraft-related cheating videos.
  • Casual gaming attracts the most cheaters, with a combined 71,884,888 cheat video views among the five most cheated games in the genre.
  • Iceland is the country with the densest population of cheaters, with 27,704 cheat video views per million internet users.

Minecraft is the World’s Most Cheated Game

The most-sold game of all time is also the most cheated. Minecraft has shifted over 238 million units (the equivalent of everyone in Japan having two copies each). Players have watched Minecraft cheating videos 30.56m times (the equivalent of a view from every person in Texas). Are the players of this wholesome, worldbuilding game really so corrupt? Given that the game contains a built-in ‘Allow Cheats’ option and a plethora of Easter Egg-style God mode variations, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt: loosening the parameters is a semi-legit take on the gameplay.

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: Surfshark.

Less mercy on players of Among Us. The game broke through during the pandemic thanks to its remote multiplayer gameplay. The ‘social deduction’ game has comparable player numbers to Minecraft but only half as many cheaters. Still, each Among Us cheater is cheating at the cost of actual human competitors. Despite the flurry of YouTube tutorials, the simplest form of cheating in Among Us is simply to chat to one of your co-players IRL, potentially revealing the Imposter.

Casual Games: Animal Crossing Among Most Cheated

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: Surfshark.

Along with their high download numbers and less discerning players, casual games stand out as the most-cheated category by a long way. Minecraft and Among Us top the cheat list, but another Covid-19 phenomenon also boasts millions of cheaters: Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Are there really any rules when playing in your perma-pajamas with a raging pandemic outside? Anyone who grew up on the Sims knows that half the fun of sandbox games is powering up your resources and building the prettiest world you can.

Driving: Forza Horizon 5 in Pole Position

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: Surfshark.

Forza Horizon 5 attracted six million ‘drivers’ in its first week of release, and guess what? Driving gamers are competitive. One early cheat – now patched out – involved the auto-steering option and a rubber band. An actual rubber band. By fixing down the controller’s accelerator button, the car would drive itself around an epic 50-lap course, racking up millions of pretend dollars and a ton of car mastery points.

MMO: Two World of Warcraft Iterations Among Most Cheated

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: Surfshark.

World of Warcraft suffered one of gaming’s highest-profile cheats with the WowGlider hack, which allowed players to automate repetitive gameplay elements. The hack sold over 100,000 copies, with users stumping up $25 each. Still, WoW proper has less than 10% of the cheaters searching out hacks for the pared-down Classic version of the game.

RPG: Twin Pokémon Games Got All the Cheaters

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: Surfshark.

Pokémon’s 2019 games Sword and Shield take the biscuit regarding RPG cheats. The twin games have sold a combined 24.27 million, and around a quarter of this number have watched cheat videos. Pokémon aficionados often justify cheating on the grounds that the game itself often seems to be cheating them through the use of arbitrary skill levels and inconsistencies among non-player characters.

Shooters: Fortnite Boasts 12m+ Cheaters

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: Surfshark.

The gaming community widely but wrongly believes PC gamers to be the biggest cheaters due to the accessibility of raw code files. This ongoing weakness has a particular impact on the shooter genre. But it was the illegal selling of valuable stolen Fortnite accounts (often with “rare or popular skins and pre-completed battle passes”) that recently made headlines when Epic Games sued the cheater for damages, which they donated to a children’s charity.

Sports: UFC 4 and NBA 2K22 Among Most-Cheated Sports Games

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: Surfshark.

Basketball phenomenon NBA 2K22 doesn’t come with built-in cheats, which means players have to dig deep to find ways to hack the gameplay. Unfortunately, this often comes as a threat to their online security. A recent Surfshark study revealed that searches for NBA 2K22 mods are among the most likely in gaming to result in you downloading malware.

Nintendo Switch: Classic Titles Among Most Cheated

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: Surfshark.

If you’re nervous about plugging dubious USB pegs into your device, you’ve probably avoided the Nintendo Switch Up. This legitimate third-party device plugs straight into a Nintendo Switch, allowing the use of non-Switch controllers. It can also toy with the signal from your official controller, powering up your play (cheating) in some of the Switch’s top titles. The Switch’s ten most cheated games have a combined cheater count of 30,093,735, led by Pokémon’s twin Sword and Shield releases.

The Countries with the Most Video Game Cheaters

Iceland boasts the world’s densest community of gaming cheaters, with 27,704 out of every million Icelandic internet users watching a cheating video. Despite this blot on Iceland’s gaming community, the country boasts a long and successful history of professional esports. The University of Iceland was chosen as the site for a new course on the “science of friendship and video games.”

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: Surfshark.

Australia, New Zealand, and a raft of European countries accompany Iceland in the top ten, with the U.S. also showing up in ninth position with 21,332 cheat views per million users. This is surprising since Asian countries account for 40% of the world’s top gaming markets – although those in China, the biggest of all, can only access YouTube via VPN. Chinese police collaborated with gaming giant Tencent to execute the “biggest ever video-game-cheat operation” in 2021, as part of a mission codenamed Chicken Drumstick.

Cheating Themselves

Some say cheating is its own punishment – the cheater deprives themselves of the satisfaction of a square win and devalues the game in which they have invested time and money. But there are more concrete consequences for cheating depending on your location and platform. In South Korea, one Overwatch cheater was fined 10 million won (around $10,000) for creating hacks, while another got two years on probation at risk of jail.

The games platform Steam has its own Valve Anti-Cheat system, which automatically bans cheats and leaves a visible record on their profile once they return. Embarrassing. But cheating at high-profile esports contests can get you in trouble under gambling or even doping laws, with jail and big-money fines not out of the question.

Here is our full breakdown of the games for which gamers are most willing to risk jail, fines, or ostracization.

Cheating is a security risk, and creating cheats is a potential gateway to more serious cybercrime. The next level might come with more surprises than you anticipated.

Final Boarding Call

I am really more of a puzzle and word games kind of guy that most of the games which are mentioned in this article — and I even enjoy creating games:

More articles pertaining to games at The Gate include:

As for the platypuses — well…

…I just wanted to check and see if you were still reading this article…

Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

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