Rockstar has taken a new approach with cheaters in its its latest bullet time title, Max Payne 3, by locking them in multiplayer servers with one another.
Placed in a pool of players that Rockstar has named “confirmed miscreants,” they'll only be able to play with other cheaters. This is a different approach to some companies, which will often just ban the offending players. By placing cheaters together, the developer is looking to avoid the multiplayer experience being ruined for legitimate gamers, whilst also not robbing those that do cheat from online gameplay.
That said, the miscreant game servers don't allow invincibility cheats, or infinite ammo bugs to be exploited any more than the main servers. Anyone found cheating once again, will then be banished from the online gameplay forever. However, since Rockstar is relying on players reporting suspected cheaters, games populated with “miscreants," might be less keen to rat each other out.
Rockstar has hinted that players may be allowed back into the main game – perhaps when the discovered bugs have been patched out – which suggests the cheater populated servers are some sort of Max Payne purgatory.
This is a nice approach, that punishes, but not too harshly. After all, those cheating might be attempting to circumvent the game as it was intended, but they're still playing it. They're still fans of Max Payne 3. If the piracy witch hunts of certain movie studios and games developers in the past have shown us anything, alienating your player base is the last thing you want to do.