To dive into this subject and observe a glimpse into the psychology of a video game cheater, we must first realize that there are many variables that may make a player use a cheat and therefore becoming a cheater. By the rule of thumb, we might think that the personality alone is a decisive factor when it comes to whether you are going to cheat in a game or not, however this is not so cut and dry. Behavior in this context will always hold more weight, as to reach to a decision of acting upon doing something, one’s choices would be affected by both his personality and the situation he is currently in.
Factors which may Contribute on Choosing to Cheat in a Video Game
For example, when you are playing a multiplayer online video game, you are anonymous and are playing against other unknown people. The anonymity factor can be quite decisive in not having the fear of using a cheat against them or in other words, to use a game hack to obtain an advantage over him.
Another very important factor is the incentive, if there are money involved as rewards for the outcome of the game you are playing, even honest people would consider doing it. The temptation can be strong enough if it matches something that the player desires. For example, there is said that over 75% of students cheated at their exams at one point or another, now that doesn’t mean that all of them are going to end up criminals, but it simply points that when there is a strong incentive, then it can become a decisive factor on choosing to cheat.
And then there are games where the rewards are simply virtual, as ending up in a leader-board or progressing in a ladder up to the ranking systems. It becomes clear that in this context, the motivation becomes psychological and it is tied to the ego boosting and polishing one’s self esteem. By default, all of us feel good when we appear in a good light in front of others, and somewhere along the way, it doesn’t even matter if the others actually think that or how we got to appear good, we might get lost in meaning and all that would matter is the end result, which is self esteem related. This leads to yet another decisive factor in whether or not one will choose to cheat, as when someone is feeling down or depressed and is also performing poorly in a video game, the idea of cheating to simply feel rewarded by the end result will most definitely be considered.
Once that players choose use cheats, it becomes more likely for them in the future to cheat again. It might make them feel guilty for doing so, and in order to get rid of the guilt feeling, a person can rationalize himself into thinking that it may not be that much of a big deal, that perhaps there are so many other people doing it and so on. Some might not even consider cheating as real cheating, they could rationalize their use of certain programs to hack a game as an aid in their gaming experience. This cognitive dissonance can create a cycle of never ending habits of cheating, and therefore, a new cheater is born. Be that as it may, the vast majority of players are not using gaming cheats.
In the end, there are two types of cheaters, those that are looking for script and hacks which alter the way the game works, and those that look after gaming cheats to obtain free gems and coins because they can’t or don’t want to spend real money on those resources. This post is mainly about the first category, so there you have it folks, a glimpse into the psychology of cheating in video games.