PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is kind of a big deal at the moment. The Battle Royale-style shooter has been challenged by games like Fortnite, but the two titles are different enough that they’ve each maintained distinct play styles and strategies. As with any multiplayer game, there’s an ongoing war of attrition between people who want to cheat in PUBG and players who want a balanced game.
Personally, I come down hard on the side of keeping games honest. I love modding — it’s one of the core reasons I prefer gaming on a PC to playing on a console — but only in single-player titles. In competitive multiplayer, it’s important to safeguard the playing experience for everyone. If you’ve ever played an FPS match with someone who was cheating on the opposite team, you know that even one person with a wallhack and instant sniper kill mod can ruin a match. Most companies also don’t actively promote cheating unless, of course, they’re in the business of writing these kinds of cheats.
But Dell China, it seems, has — okay, had — somewhat different ideas.
That’s the word from PC Authority, who had a man on the ground at Intel’s 8th Generation Core Mobile unveil in China. One of Dell’s major talking points was how an 8th Generation CPU could run more PUBG “plugins” (read: cheats) than any previous CPU family. The author, Ben Mansill, quotes Account Director and assigned spokesperson for Dell’s gaming laptops, Sally Zhang:
She spoke of how Chinese gamers are the most innovative and dominant in the world by using “plugins” to, for example, run faster than other players, or blow up ten cars at a time, and that these top gamers can really use 8th-Gen power to “run more plugins to win more at Chicken Dinner”, and that the top players run the most ‘plugins’ so that’s where 8th-gen Dell power gives them the gamer’s edge. Behind her a video proudly shows various cheats in PUBG in action (they really like the one with the massively oversized gun and show that a lot), with the new Dell gaming laptops shown every few seconds while Sally told us that gamers should buy a Dell because they’re better at running many plugins. Wow.
There are two ways to look at this. At the most pragmatic level, Dell might actually have a point. I don’t condone cheating, nor recommend it, but as a matter of practical performance, a mobile CPU with high IPC and good single-threaded performance will probably be better at juggling a bunch of latency-sensitive, likely single-threaded applications. And a fair number of the mobile 8th Gen chips Intel has unveiled offer more threads than the old CPUs did. As far as identifying a potentially useful upgrade scenario, Dell gets an A.
Of course, these debates aren’t just about the fine points of benchmarking. They’re also about not appearing to recommend that people buy your hardware to cheat with it. Dell Australia has responded to the initial reports with the following statement :
Dell is fully committed to supporting fair play in online gaming. We do not encourage nor endorse any behavior that undermines fair gaming practices. Dell has a strong track record in partnering with gaming teams, aiming at providing world-class gamers with the ultimate experience. In an attempt to communicate the power of the new Dell G Series, inappropriate modification examples were used in Dell’s product launch event in China last week. This does not reflect our global gaming culture or strategy. We condemn any modifications misused in gaming.
The moral of the story? Don’t cheat! But if you’re going to cheat… maybe buy a Dell?*
*Dell is highly unlikely to approve this message.
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