Unscrupulous Fall Guys players have been using a loophole in Steam’s Family Sharing feature to get around cheat detection bans. Now, the Fall Guys Twitter account says it has turned off Family Sharing for the game as it continues to find and stop cheaters among the game’s 7 million Steam purchasers.
Before the loophole was closed, Steam players were able to buy Fall Guys on a primary account and then share the game with a newly created, free “burner” account using Steam’s longstanding Family Sharing program. If and when the burner account was banned after cheating was detected, the process could be repeated ad infinitum without the need to repurchase the game on a new account.
This isn’t the first time Family Sharing has been used to evade anti-cheat efforts. In early 2018, the developer of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds similarly turned off Family Sharing after “identif[ying] a number of vulnerabilities that are being exploited” and to “fight abuse and ensure a fair environment.”
A sledgehammer for a fly?
The loss of Family Sharing will surely impact many Fall Guys players who are using the feature as intended, without any interest in cheating. And Valve confirmed that a more targeted solution to the problem is available: “Steam provides APIs to get the original lender account and they can ban this instead,” Valve Director of Marketing Doug Lombardi said.
Valve’s own anti-cheat system also applies Family Sharing game bans across the player account and the actual owner of the game, according to Steam documentation. And Unity also provides APIs to identify the root account for any cheater’s copy of the game.
In response, Devolver CTO John Bartkiw told Ars that “Family Sharing will return and we’re already discussing with Valve how to do so well.”
“Disabling family-sharing was just one switch on Steam and didn’t require a new build or update,” the Fall Guys Twitter account said by way of further explanation. A more targeted fix will “require code work, QA, and new builds,” but is in the works.
Family Sharing aside, the Fall Guys account says that dealing with cheaters is a “top priority,” and that cheaters will soon be removed from matches immediately upon detection rather than at the conclusion of an in-game round.
Developer Mediatonic is also reminding players they shouldn’t feel the need to actively report cheaters because the game’s automatic detection algorithms have probably found them already. “The likelihood is, if you saw a cheater, it was their first and probably their last time cheating—they tripped our anti cheating switch and the next game they have been detected,” the company writes. “We have all cheating sources logged, and will soon make cheating a thing of the past.”
Listing image by Mediatonic / Devolver Digital