This is a comprehensive and continuously updated list of all games that use controversial kernel-level anti-cheat software and the developers and publishers behind them. The most popular third-party software are EasyAntiCheat, PunkBuster, BattlEye, nProtect GameGuard, Xigncode3, and EQU8. Some developers opt for their proprietary software like Riot’s Vanguard or Activision’s Ricochet. Others like Valve’s VAC or Blizzard’s Warden aren’t included because they don’t operate on the kernel level.
We should point out that Denuvo has come up with its own kernel-level anti-cheat software, which should not be confused with their popular DRM anti-tamper software. Doom Eternal was the first game to implement this, and an update was later released, removing it due to backlash from gamers. For the sake of completeness, we also included ESEA’s and FaceIT’s implementations, but it should be noted these are not used by the developers of the games and are for competitive purposes.
As games add, remove, or switch kernel-level anti-cheat software, we will adapt this list accordingly.
|1||7 Days to Die||Easy Anti-Cheat||The Fun Pimps||The Fun Pimps|
|2||A.V.A||XIGNCODE3||Red Duck||Red Duck|
|3||A.V.A: Dog Tag||BattlEye||Red Duck||Red Duck|
|4||Absolver||Easy Anti-Cheat||Sloclap||Devolver Digital|
|6||Albion Online||Easy Anti-Cheat||Sandbox Interactive||Sandbox Interactive|
|7||America's Army||PunkBuster||United States Army||United States Army|
|8||America's Army 3||PunkBuster||United States Army||United States Army|
|9||America's Army: Proving Grounds||PunkBuster||United States Army||United States Army|
|10||APB Reloaded||BattlEye||Little Orbit||Little Orbit|
When it comes to the popularity of kernel-level anti-cheat software, the bluntly named Easy Anti-Cheat by Epic Games is the most popular. It can be found in 140 games and includes some of the most popular games like Fortnite and Apex Legends.
You might remember PunkBuster from way back when some of us were playing Battlefield on GameSpy servers. It has had its share of controversy in its days and has dropped in popularity since then. That said, it’s still bundled in more games than BattlEye, another emerging software, at 52 versus 41.
nProtect GameGuard is popular in the Korean gaming market. The developer INCA Internet states upwards of 330 games use it; however, this is difficult to verify as no specific game information is provided. The most obscure of the third-party software is XIGNCODE3, with 11 games. You can find this software mostly in titles made by Korean developers.
A more recent of the bunch and the one with arguably the most drama is Riot’s Vanguard software used in Valorant and possibly League of Legends soon. Amongst controversy, Riot later made it possible to disable Vanguard while you aren’t playing Valorant, but it has to be on when you want to play. Additionally, it put out a bounty of upwards of $100,000 for anyone that can “demonstrate practical exploits leveraging the Vanguard kernel driver.”