Every Game with Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Software

This is a comprehensive September 2020 list that we gathered of all games that use controversial kernel-level anti-cheat software and the developers and publishers behind them. The most popular anti-kernal software are EasyAntiCheat, PunkBuster, Battleye, and Xigncode3. Some developers opt for their own proprietary software like Riot’s Vanguard. Others like that of Valve’s VAC or Blizzard’s Warden aren’t included because they don’t operate on the kernel level.

We should note that Denuvo has come up with its own kernel-level anti-cheat software and this 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 or remove kernel-level anti-cheat software we will adapt this list accordingly.

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 108 games and includes some of the popular ones like Fortnite and Apex Legends.

PunkBuster you might remember from way back when some of us were playing Battlefield on GameSpy servers. Its had its own share of controversy in its days and dropped in popularity since then. That said it still bundled in more games than BattlEye, another emerging software, at 57 versus 37.

The most obscure of the third-party software is XIGNCODE3 with 7 games. You can find this software mostly in titles made by Korean developers.

The newest of the bunch and the one with arguably the most drama is Riot’s Vanguard software used in Valorant and possibly League of Legends in the near future.

Dan Alder
Dan Alder
Dan's logged far too many hours in CS 1.6 and reminisces about LAN parties back in the good ol' days. He's also an engineer that's interested in anything to do with tech.
Dan Alder
Dan Alder
Dan's logged far too many hours in CS 1.6 and reminisces about LAN parties back in the good ol' days. He's also an engineer that's interested in anything to do with tech.

3 Comments

  1. TERA NA dont use any anti-cheat, it was in the past, but it got removed some months later due to certain drama.

    P.S: Half-Community veteran players use third party apps & mods to play

    P.S2: TERA not works on linux via wine/proton due to certain error unrelated to any anticheats, it is more due to own game unoptimized

    I dont know about others regions.

  2. Punkbuster isn’t kernel based these days. DuckDuckGo searches for PnkBstrK.sys seem to only give pages from 2007/2008. Would you provide some justification for calling it kernel anticheat?

    Also, you missed Tenprotect from TenCent. I don’t know which games use it though.

  3. Thanks Dan for putting this list together. I had been looking for a complete DRM Anti-cheat software list for a while. Now I can easily avoid all of the BattlEye games on Steam.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *