PUBG developer Bluehole has confirmed that 15 people suspected of developing hacking/cheating software have been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation with "multiple partners and judicial authorities" in China.
"As you all now know," Bluehole wrote in a recent post on Steam, "we've been doing everything possible to root out cheating from PUBG. The ultimate goal is to create an environment for players that's completely safe from hackers and cheaters."
To that end, it said, "We've upgraded our security measures, improved our anti-cheat solutions, and recently even added a new anti-cheat solution on top of all that.
"In the meantime, we've also been continuously gathering information on hack developers (and sellers) and have been working extensively with multiple partners and judicial authorities to bring these people to justice."
As a result of these investigations, "15 suspects were arrested for developing and selling hacking/cheating programs that affect PUBG" on April 25th of this year.
Bluehole also cited an official report from local authorities, which more specifically revealed that suspects were arrested for "developing hack programs, hosting marketplaces for hack programs, and brokering transactions". These suspects have been fined around $5.1 million USD (about Ł3.7 million), and others are still being investigated.
Notably, Bluehole added that "malicious code, including Trojan horse software, was included in some of these programs and was used to steal user information." The local authorities report expanded on that too, explaining that "hack developers used this virus to control users' PC, scan their data, and extract information illegally."
Cheating has been an ongoing concern for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, with anti-cheat company BattlEye reporting in February that it had banned "over 1,044,000 PUBG cheaters in January alone". Factoring in previous figures reported by BattlEye, that equates to a total of around 2.5 million bans for cheating since PUBG's early access launch; by way of comparison, the game was reported to have sold around 30 million copies on PC by February this year. BattlEye said of the cheating, "Unfortunately things continue to escalate."
We have banned over 1,044,000 PUBG cheaters in January alone, unfortunately things continue to escalate.— BattlEye (@TheBattlEye) February 4, 2018
In its newest post, the developer reaffirms its stance on cheating in PUBG, noting that "We'll continue to crack down on hacking/cheating programs (and their creators) until our players are free to battle it out in a totally fair environment."