EA announces kernel-level anti-cheat system for PC game FIFA 23

EA is following on from Activision with its own anti-cheat system at the kernel level. The publisher will release this system during the release of the PC version of FIFA 23. This game will be released at the end of this month and the system will also be used in other games.

It concerns EA AntiCheat (EAAC), an anti-cheat system developed by the company itself. According to the publisher, PC cheat makers are increasingly focusing on the kernel and therefore need protections at that level. The system should not only protect PC players from cheaters; console players who compete against PC opponents are also protected against cheaters who operate on PC platforms, according to EA.

EA states that such a kernel-level system is indispensable in games that are very competitive and contain many online modes, as will be the case in FIFA 23. The system will not be implemented in every game from the publisher. Particularly in single player games and titles without rankings or leaderboards, the system may not be deployed and may be opted for other anti-cheat technology or its complete absence.

The company emphasizes that EAAC does not affect gameplay in terms of performance; according to EA, that effect is ‘negligible’. The system will only run when a game with EAAC protection is running; once the game closes, the anti-cheat system will also close. If a player removes FIFA 23 from the PC, EAAC will also be removed automatically. Players can also remove it manually, but games that require the system will no longer be playable.

Furthermore, EA emphasizes that privacy is a major concern and that EAAC only looks at what it needs to fight cheats. To that end, the company says it has “limited the information EAAC collects.” If there’s a process running on the PC that responds to a game, EAAC can see and respond to it. But it should not go further, according to EA. For example, according to the company, no information is collected about browsing history, applications separate from EA or other things that are not directly related to protection against cheats. Also, according to EA, the security of the PC is not compromised if EAAC is enabled.

This move by Electronic Arts is very similar to the announcement Activision made last year. That game company then came up with a kernel-level anti-cheat system for Call of Duty on PC. At the time, this system called Ricochet was specifically aimed at the PC version of Call of Duty: Warzone and the Pacific update for that game. In June, Activision said it has seen “significant decreases in the number of cheating players” since the release of Ricochet, but also “some unfortunate increases.”