Punkbuster Service Goes Down, Hundreds of Online Games Offline

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News Posted: Wed, Feb 13 2013 2:21 PM

PunkBuster, the anti-cheating service implemented in hundreds of online games, is down. As of the time of writing, the official PunkBuster website is up and down, after having been completely down for the past couple of hours. On Twitter, there are numerous reports of gamers who've been unable to play online in the most popular PunkBuster-backed title of the moment, Battlefield 3.

Without getting into the reasons why a service like PunkBuster fails in so many ways, EA isn't ignorant of the current situation and has gone as far as to post an interim fix here (correction: apparently it is ignorant of the solution; this fix is not EA sanctioned, after all) . Applying the fix is a simple matter of extracting an archive and then overwriting a couple of files inside of your Battlefield 3 install folder.

While Battlefield 3 (our review here) is the biggest game at the moment using PunkBuster, other recent titles use it as well, such as Far Cry 3, Assassin's Creed III and Medal of Honor: Warfighter. It can be assumed that the online components in these games remain unavailable as well, but so far a search for reports has turned up little.

While EA has little power over PunkBuster's ability to get things 100% functional again, this issue does highlight the fact that third-party solutions are not always the way to go. For a game like Battlefield 3, which has a major focus on online gameplay, gamers should never be prevented to play over something so simple.

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Your article: 

News:
EA isn't ignorant of the current situation and has gone as far as to post an interim fix here.

However, following the link you provide: "Go4BF3.eu is a Go4Gamers website and is not associated with EA, DICE or ESL."

There is no mention of the outage on EA's blogs or Twitter. On the contrary it would seem that EA are indeed either ignorant, or remaining silent on the matter. Meanwhile it's up to the independent gaming communities to post the fixes and workarounds for their members.

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Go DRM and anti cheat systems that don't work or do nothing but make paying customers mad.

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RWilliams replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 12:20 PM

Err - I mistook this:

http://answers.ea.com/t5/Battlefield-3/Punkbuster-and-evenbalance-down/td-p/497716

for being an official solution. I didn't realize that the response there was just another user. Thanks for the heads-up.

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Dorkstar replied on Thu, Feb 14 2013 1:25 PM

You'd think these companies would have some kind of safety net in place in the event a major service goes down.  Heck, drop all anti-cheating requirements for 12 hours and let your players at least play the game they paid for.

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You're welcome!

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