Twitch streamer Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek has been temporarily banned after playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds with a hacker. The original stream is no longer available, but clips captured by fans continue to spread across social media. The video has reignited the ongoing debate among players about PUBG’s hacker problem. The community finds itself split on whether clips of top players working with hackers calls attention to flaws within the game or if the players are using their popularity to get away with cheating.
The former esports star has one of the biggest Twitch channels on the site, with over 3 million followers tuning in to watch the skilled shooter rack up kills in PUBG, Fortnite, and other games in the battle royale genre. He is so popular that, in the last month, Grzesiek and fellow Twitch star DrDisRespect partnered up with PUBG to have weapon skins created in their honor, with sales conveniently wrapping a week ago. Grzesiek’s success shows no signs of slowing, even while PUBG finds its numbers drop by over half due to Fortnite’s growing popularity.
According to Kotaku, Grzesiek has been given a month long ban due to a clip where he and fellow streamer Wadu were joined by a hacker. In the circulating video, the hacker sends cars flying around them, creating barriers, later using one of the cars to carry the duo to the next playzone. Grzesiek scores a kill after being alerted to another player hiding in a nearby house. At one point, he states “I’m getting banned,” not that the possibility appears to put a damper on his mood.
The video and subsequent response from PUBG has left fans split over whether their frustration should be directed at the brevity of the ban or the underlying problem the game has with cheaters. Hackers frequently appear in matches, messing with actual players in order to advertise their work. The game’s anti-cheat system, BattlEye, announced back in February that they had banned over 1 million players, yet the problem persists. Towards the end of the clip, Grzesiek appeared to address the issue. “It really goes to show that PUBG, full offense to you guys, don’t give a s*** because that guy should have been banned immediately.” He doesn't appear to notice the irony.
It's also unclear how this ban will impact Shroud's upcoming appearance on PUBG's Squad Showdown on July 13, an event PUBG Corp is hosting with Twitch Prime in commemoration of Amazon's Prime Day (Twitch is owned by Amazon). Shroud was slated to play in the showdown alongside several other top Twitch streamers, but this temporary ban may put a halt to that.
Some posts on Reddit agree with him in saying PUBG had it coming. Others say the real problem is that Grzesiek’s punishment isn’t really punishment at all. After watching its player count plummet early this year and continue to dwindle, PUBG wouldn’t want to risk losing one of its star players. While PUBG faces backlash for the discrepancy between how it doles out punishments, Grzesiek doesn’t appear to be affected by the temporary ban. He has begun training for Rainbow Six Siege, a game whose popularity has grown in recent months while PUBG’s continues to shrink. Since he hasn’t met a shooter he can’t master, Grzesiek can switch his sights to another game, secure in the knowledge that he’ll continue creating great footage for his fans.