Microsoft wants artificial intelligence to catch cheaters on Xbox Live

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application filed by Microsoft that describes a method of cheat detection for games on a platform level using machine learning. The idea is to bring cheat detection outside the game itself given platforms like Xbox Live and PlayStation Network can’t detect any wrongdoings within the game. To do this, Microsoft proposes using artificial intelligence. 

“A platform that hosts third-party games may not be able to detect cheating that occurs in third-party games, even where achievements in third-party games are managed at the platform level,” the patent states. “When the third-party game notifies the game platform of the improperly awarded achievement, the game platform may award the player an item in response to the achievement, thereby rewarding the cheating behavior.” 

According to Microsoft, artificial intelligence would be trained to track interactions between games and gaming platforms such as Xbox Live. These “interactions” would include notifications of achievements, game scores reported to the platform, and/or a player rank achieved on the platform based upon game activities. If something abnormal is spotted, the data would be analyzed for possible cheating behaviors. 

The problem is that the player data would be huge, thus recognizing cheating patterns within all that data would be easier for artificial intelligence to handle than manual techniques used by humans — and quicker, too. To create a cheating detection system on any given gaming network, it needs to start with a goals management module that provides the player with rewards based on their completed goals. 

“The goals management module confirms that the player’s information meets the relevant policy, and then updates the goals information in the user accounts database to show that the goal has been met (and to award any items for meeting the goal),” the patent states. “Goals information also may contain information regarding the meeting of goals in other platform activities.” 

Joining the goals management module would be a cheating detection module. Games would provide this module with information regarding gameplay and the progress of the player. Two classifying functions within this model, both trained by machine learning, would examine the patterns provided by the game to determine if the player’s account should be flagged for cheating. In other words, artificial intelligence will compare the gamer’s activities with data comprised of non-cheating gameplay to see if there’s a deviation worth flagging. 

If the cheating detection module suspects foul play, the player’s account is then sent over to the enforcement module. Actions taken against the player may be based on his/her history: A first offense may be manually dealt by a human using a slight scolding in an email. A repeat offender may automatically be suspended or permanently banned from the network. 

Microsoft filed its patent, “Detecting Cheating in Games with Machine Learning,” in May 2017. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published the application on Thursday, June 28. 

Product Review

Flexible and fast, HP's Spectre x360 is the 2-in-1 for every occasion

HP’s late-2017 refresh of the Spectre x360 13 convertible 2-in-1 leverages Intel’s eighth-generation CPUs for significantly improved performance and battery life. The thin and light frame is also tweaked, and looks better than ever.
Computing

Want to game on your Chromebook? Here's where to start

Chromebooks aren't great for gaming, but there are a few titles that most machines can run. There's a surprisingly diverse crowd that includes role-playing games, action side-scrollers, and puzzlers.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Alita: Battle Angel,’ ‘Detective Pikachu,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's new trailers for cyberpunk adventure Alita: Battle Angel, game adaptation Pokémon Detective Pikachu…
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Gaming

Feeling nostalgic? Here are the 25 best Sega Genesis games

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Deals

All the best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Computing

Microsoft drops Surface Go price to $350 for Black Friday week

The Microsoft Surface Go convertible tablet has seen a large price drop this Black Friday sales season, lowering the base model to $350 and even the upgraded ones have seen $50 knocked off of their asking price.
Computing

M4A is great for quality, but not for storage. Here's how to convert to MP3

Despite its remarkable ability to retain audio fidelity at a smaller size, M4a files aren't the best when it comes to compatibility. Check out our basic guide on how to convert M4a files to MP3.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Deals

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Computing

Detangle your desk with a mighty wireless mouse. Here are our six favorites

If you're looking for the best wireless mouse on the market, we've got the list for you!. These six models have something for everyone, whether you're a hardcore gamer or simply looking to ward off carpal tunnel.
Computing

Razer takes up to $500 off of its Blade gaming laptops for Black Friday

If you're a fan of Razer's understated aesthetics that earned the Blade comparisons with Apple's laptops, you can score some big savings on Black Friday, as Razer is offering up to $500 discounts off of its gaming notebooks.
Computing

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.
Buying Guides

Solid-state drives are speedier than hard disk drives. Are they worth it?

As the price of solid-state drives comes down, it's reached a point where it's hard to recommend a system without at least a hybrid solution. In the battle of SSD vs. HDD, a clear winner has emerged.