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Valorant Enforcing TPM on Windows 11 PCs to Keep Cheaters at Bay

Valorant PC
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

With cheating growing rampant in the first-person shooter e-sports space, the developers behind Valorant have figured out a new way to keep more cheaters at bay. Sourced from @AntiCheatPD on Twitter; e-sports shooter Valorant now requires all PCs running Windows 11 to feature a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). Any machines running Windows 11 with TPMs disabled will not be allowed to play the game.

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The TPM requirement allows Riot Games, the developers behind Valorant, to ban cheaters' PCs in addition to banning their account and/or IP addresses. This is done through the Trusted Platform Module's burned-in RSA key that cannot be erased or altered. Each RSA key enforces authenticity with its associated device, making sure that Windows and any apps running on the machine know who the system is.

If everything goes according to plan, the new TPM regulations should cause major problems for cheaters who get caught. Cheaters will have to replace either the gaming PC they play on (ouch), or more likely replace important (and expensive) parts such as the CPU or motherboard, so they can get around the ban. It's unclear if switching to a different TPM device would work, but presumably that's not the case.

For now, Riot Games only enforces the TPM requirement on Windows 11 PCs, with no official requirement for Windows 10 just yet. Enforcing TPM on Windows 11 first makes sense with Microsoft already requiring TPM support to run Windows 11 in the first place, with some exceptions.

However, if the new TPM requirements are transitioned over to Windows 10 in the future, this could cause significant problems for users still on older hardware, and potentially kill off some of Valorant's player base.

But the risk might be worth it for Riot Games to ensure cheaters don't change operating systems to get around bans. If this does happen then Valorant will become Windows 10 and 11 exclusives with the TPM requirement enforced on both operating systems.

We'll have to see what Riot Games decides to do, but for now, TPM is a requirement to play Valorant on Windows 11. So be sure your system is Windows 11 ready if you plan to upgrade.

  • drea.drechsler
    So if I understand it right it's actually the players computer, or possibly CPU, that's being banned and not the player per se.
    If so, can we expect used CPU's and pre-builts turning up on eBay (or your favorite flea market site) that will not be able to play Valorant...or any other game that follows their lead...if the PO got themself banned when using it?
    Reply
  • eichwana
    I've seen enough companies weilding their ban hammer in a far too heavy handed manner to be supportive of this. Where I've been lucky enough to not have been banned from any games (probably because I don't play many multiplayer games), I know of people who have been banned for cheating because of programs like fraps and discord's game overlay.
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    Is Valorant one of those super-grindy games with a huge progression system? I've never played it and have zero interest in it. Just curious if it's the type of game I'd be motivated to completely cheat the progression system of because I hate games that think I want to be playing them for hundreds or thousands of hours without a steady stream of community/modded content.

    Enforcing TPM and Secure Boot sounds like a good idea. Riot is likely to beat a ton of cheaters who are not aware of how TPM and Secure Boot work. Cheat users don't necessarily have the technical knowledge to know what to do if they get caught. However, there are ways around Riot's implementation without having to replace motherboards or CPUs. I would expect cheat developers to publish such instructions to their customers.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Imagine if Microsoft, Adobe, and other software developers start doing this, blacklisting TPMs for some reason...As if the used hardware market wasn't already, imagine buying a motherboard that's effectively bricked, and there's no way to know it before you go though the hassle of installing it.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    The false positives are going to be fun to deal with.

    Also, can't you just change the TPM and re-install Windows? Sounds like a useless "feature".

    Regards.
    Reply
  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    Imagine if Microsoft, Adobe, and other software developers start doing this, blacklisting TPMs for some reason...As if the used hardware market wasn't already, imagine buying a motherboard that's effectively bricked, and there's no way to know it before you go though the hassle of installing it.

    This is a DRM feature and I’m sure here partners in this.
    I’m also assuming hardware TPMs are going t be rare or be placed right where you either use a gaming card or a hardware TPM.
    Good times ahead for the companies.
    Reply
  • deesider
    Yuka said:
    The false positives are going to be fun to deal with.

    Also, can't you just change the TPM and re-install Windows? Sounds like a useless "feature".

    Regards.
    I assume most people will be relying on a fTPM that is part of the CPU.

    Not sure if installing a discrete TPM chip onto the motherboard will replace the fTPM - but if so the 'normal' price for one is about $8. That seems like a small price to pay for a cheater to access the game, especially seeing the rampant cheating and bans in Counter Strike that require a new game and steam account to circumvent.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    deesider said:
    I assume most people will be relying on a fTPM that is part of the CPU.

    Not sure if installing a discrete TPM chip onto the motherboard will replace the fTPM - but if so the 'normal' price for one is about $8. That seems like a small price to pay for a cheater to access the game, especially seeing the rampant cheating and bans in Counter Strike that require a new game and steam account to circumvent.
    Not only that; I'm sure the same cheaters will find a way to spoof the keys somehow via a kernel hack. At the end of the day, everything is exposed via the kernel.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • IceQueen0607
    I don't condone or support cheating, but I don't support the installation of rootkits, which is what Riots Vanguard is. This is required to be running from start up, even when you are not running the game. The rootkit already gives them the ability to abuse their anti-cheat system and take actions against you for things that they have no jurisdiction over. Eg games that are not even theirs.

    I'm a system builder by trade, and it scares the hell out of me every time someone says they play Riot games. I've talked some people out of it after explaining the downsides.

    Adding a TPM gives TenCent enhanced control over your system. The requirement for TPMs is not as noble as Microsoft would have us believe and I will never use a system that requires the use of one. There are other strategies for keeping PCs safe-ish.

    If I read this right, they could ban your system, not your account. So you'd have to upgrade to be able to play. The number of fase positives too is a worry. Sorry, I do not believe this is a good move.

    Just my two cents worth.
    Reply
  • missingxtension
    How long until you are tracked on the internet with tpm? What keeps this game makers from selling a list of tpm fingerprints to third parties and what's keeping other companies from doing the same...they might have just upped the the game for the wrong industry
    Reply