Halo Infinite has been out for a couple of weeks now, and the core gameplay has received a very positive reception. However, like with most free-to-play titles, the game is already experiencing some serious issues with hackers, especially in ranked play. The uptick in hackers has led many, including numerous pros and influencers, to question the future of Halo Infinite's ranked playlist.
If Halo Infinite doesn't take proactive measures to prevent hackers from taking over their game, they risk experiencing the same fate as Warzone, a game whose integrity has been shattered by a constant stream of cheaters since its release.
Hackers already overrun Halo Infinite
Over the past year, Warzone has experienced massive issues with hackers. In both casual and serious game modes, hackers are rampant, using wall hacks, aim hacks, and any manner of movement hacks to ruin other people's experiences with the game. This also leads players to claim that pretty much anyone good is a hacker, ruining the experience of good players as well, who are often falsely accused of cheating. There are so many hackers in Warzone, in fact, that even the hackers are annoyed with the number of hackers.
Given the sad state of Warzone and Vanguard, many players have been looking to other titles as their saving grace over the past few months. Some jumped to Apex Legends, a game that still has hackers, but comparatively less of them. Others looked forward to titles like Battlefield 2042 or Halo Infinite. However, that hope has predictably not worked out, as both Battlefield and Halo Infinite are receiving their fair share of hacker reports only a few weeks after release.
With Halo, the worst hacking is taking place in upper-level Onyx matches. Many pro players and well-known content creators have reported getting into games with hackers repeatedly over the past several days. Captain Rogers, professional Call of Duty commentator, reported that the second he hit Onyx, he has been running "into like 1 per game. it's insane" while Halo pro Lucid called out a hacker on stream, who denied it while live-streaming himself very clearly hacking.
Given the state of Halo Infinite, either their anti-cheat is ineffective in its current form, or there isn't much of an anti-cheat active in the first place. The issues are bad enough that some players have called for the removal of crossplay completely until the hacker situation is under control. The devs are walking the same path that Warzone devs have already walked.
Is Halo Infinite the next Warzone?
If no action is taken soon, Halo Infinite risks acquiring a similarly bad reputation to Warzone when it comes to hackers.
Major voices in the community like OpTic Lucid, hastr0, CouRage, and many more have brought up the issue already online, and it is likely that hacking will only become more prevalent with time if nothing is done about it. With free-to-play games like Infinite, it can be very difficult for developers to limit the risks associated with hacks since the barrier to entry is so low.
In a blog released in April of this year, Halo developers claimed that they were using "novel" ways of securing their Slipspace engine to protect from cheat development.
"When people do cheat, we're focused on catching them through their behavior," explained 343 Industries security engineer Michale VanKuipers. "Combating cheaters is an ever-evolving arms race, but we're making the tech investments needed today to continue the fight for years to come."
But where is that investment? Where is the functioning security that they promised?
It seems clear that those investments are not working in the status quo. Additionally, even if they are banning cheaters for their activity, with a free-to-play game, absent hardware bans, the culprit can just make a new account and start cheating again. This is the exact issue Warzone has faced, and as of writing this article, still hasn't been solved, though the RICOCHET anti-cheat will be added to Warzone next week so we will see how that performs.
Halo Infinite has an opportunity to take swift action to try to address hackers early, setting themselves apart from how Raven Software failed to support Warzone. But if 343 fails, they risk Infinite becoming another game where people question the integrity of every encounter because of the prevalence of hackers. The community is demanding that Infinite do better, and it must do better, before it's too late.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.