Google cracks down on cheating in Android games with new API

Cheating is a pervasive issue in many games, especially on platforms like PC and Android, where it’s easier to modify a game’s files. Google is now rolling out the Play Integrity API to Android, which specifically aims to limit cheating and other modifications.

Google first released the Play Integrity API in a developer preview last year, as an optional feature for apps and games to implement. “The Play Integrity API helps protect your apps and games from potentially risky and fraudulent interactions, such as cheating and unauthorized access, allowing you to respond with appropriate actions to prevent attacks and reduce abuse says the company in the developer documentation.

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How-to video of last year’s preview

During today’s Google I/O event, it was revealed that the Play Integrity API is now available for all apps and games. The API works the same as in previous previews: once an app has added the required code, it can detect if the app or game has been modified in any way and take action. appropriate (for example, blocking access or flagging the player for review).

Developers can also use the API to check if someone has a valid license (e.g. if the app was paid for on the Play Store, if it’s a paid app), and if the device running an app or game has been certified by Google to support Google Play Services. These two features were already accessible by other means, but Google is also integrating them into this API.

Even though cracking down on online game cheaters is the most obvious use case for the new API — especially considering other companies’ recent focus on advanced anti-cheating methods in PC games – it will probably be used by many other applications. Many banking apps already block rooted or modded Android devices, and Netflix also won’t allow itself to be downloaded by uncertified devices (e.g. devices that ship without Google Play Services, like Huawei phones).

Many apps and games have their own anti-cheat solutions, but Google’s new API might be easier to implement than other solutions. This new feature will be all the more useful as Google pushes to expand Android games to PCs.

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