Cheating in online games is an ever-present problem that infects the likes of shooters, MMOs, and open-world crime simulators—and just about everything else. Now a rising tide of cheaters seems poised to threaten mobile general knowledge tester HQ Trivia as it continues to explode in popularity.
The daily trivia game attracts millions of players to battle for real money 12 times a week by answering 12 multiple-choice questions sent via live video stream. In recent days, though, the app makers have been locked in their own battle with sites like HQuack. These bot sites use optical character recognition and Google to try to figure out the answers to the game's questions and feed them to players before the game's ten-second timer is up.
Bots like these are still imperfect—HQuack advertises only "up to 82 percent accuracy," which is often not enough in a game where a single wrong answer leads to elimination. But if and when they work, they have the potential to ruin a game that's becoming a bona-fide phenomenon.