Infinity Ward, developers of the record breaking Modern Warfare video games, have announced they've already banned over 1,500 multiplayer 'cheats' from playing Modern Warfare 3.
Clearly, cheating is a sensitive issue in any game - be that football, a video game or backgammon - where effort and/or skill equals some form of reward (either emotional or physical). A few cheats ruin the game for everyone else, which is why Infinity Ward has also given players a way to report cheats to the authorities.
Could this empowerment go further still? How long would a cheat last against a team of multiplayer MW3 vigilantes given a special license to kill XP?
Staying on the subject of fair play, back in September, PepsiCo's US consumers were invited to 'Rank Up' their game, with a promotion offering consumers who purchased Pepsi, Doritos and Mountain Dew the chance to redeem pack codes for double XP time for Modern Warfare 3 prior to its release this November.
It was a promotion too far for some gamers, claiming that, when it came to playing MW3, it gave purchasers an unnecessarily unfair advantage.
While those people who bought promotional packs could never be called cheats (they've participated fair and square), it does raise important questions for brands wishing to develop marketing campaigns with video games.
Just because experience can be bought as well as earned, does that mean the practice should be encouraged? In gaming, is there ever a socially acceptable level of 'free' game experience? How can a brand add value to its consumers without offending the wider gaming community's values?