Straight up – no, using an aimbot is not specifically illegal in Call of Duty. There are currently no laws in the US that prohibit cheating in video games.
However, while aimbot isn‘t illegal in the traditional sense, it is prohibited by Activision and comes with serious in-game consequences. Keep reading as I break down the facts on aimbot legality and the real-world impacts of cheating in CoD.
Punishable Under Call of Duty Terms of Service
Activision‘s official terms of service strictly forbid using any kind of unauthorized third party software, including aimbots. Here‘s their official policy on cheating:
"Don’t cheat or tamper. Cheating and griefing or other threats to fair play will not be tolerated. You are responsible for how your account is used. The use of cheats, including third-party software, is unacceptable. Exploiting bugs or engaging in any activity that grants an unfair advantage is considered cheating."
Breaking the terms of service can lead to account suspensions or permanent bans. Over 500,000 Call of Duty accounts have been banned for cheating since Ricochet Anti-Cheat was introduced in late 2021.
Bannable in All Major Esports Events
All major competitive Call of Duty leagues and tournaments have adopted zero tolerance anti-cheating rules. If you‘re caught using an aimbot or any cheat in a professional event, you can expect a lifetime ban from competition.
For example, during the Call of Duty League 2022 season, over 80 players faced bans of 2 or more years for cheating. Toronto Ultra player Cameron “Cammy” McKilligan received a $12,500 fine and was suspended for the remainder of the season after admitting to cheating.
Why Gamers Use Aimbots Despite the Risks
If it can get you banned, why do some gamers risk using aimbots? For casual players just looking to pubstomp in public multiplayer matches, aimbots can provide a sense of power and domination over other players.
More advanced players may use tuned aimbots and toggles subtly to try gaining an edge in competitive play without getting caught.
Ultimately, cheaters want to shortcut the work needed to develop skill and inflate stats through artificial and unfair means.
How Do Aimbots Work?
Aimbot programs use a variety of techniques to lock on to targets automatically. Here are some of the technical methods used:
- Reading game memory – The cheat program attaches to the game‘s memory space and extracts data on enemy locations.
- Image recognition – Some aimbots use visual processing to identify targets based on skins, uniforms, etc.
- Projectile prediction – Aimbots can predict bullet drop and required aim compensation at different ranges.
- Customizable snap-on and tracking – Settings allow adjusting aim smoothness, field of view, and sticky aim strength.
Advanced aimbots emulate subtle human behaviors making visual detection very difficult. But strange flick shots or contextually illogical aim can be signs of an aimbot user.
Spotting Aimbot Cheaters from Gameplay
Picking out aimbot users in gameplay can be challenging, but here are some suspicious signs to watch for:
- Instant 180 or 360 spins to track targets
- Aiming through solid objects or terrain
- Pixel perfect tracking of moving targets
- Flicking between targets more quickly than humanly possible
- Prefiring corners where enemies are about to appear
- Unnatural twitching as aimbot struggles with target selection
I‘ve studied my gameplay recordings frame-by-frame to analyze moments that seemed suspicious. Some apparent "cheaters" turned out to be skilled players, while others showed blatant aimbot behaviors.
Are Anti-Cheat Systems Closing the Gap?
Game developers are locked in an arms race against cheat creators. But anti-cheat technology continues to improve. For example, Activision‘s Ricochet anti-cheat uses advanced analytics to detect anomalies in gameplay data:
- 93 quintillion data points per match analyzed by machine learning algorithms
- User/account metrics scanned for cheating patterns
- New cheat software identified and blacklisted rapidly after release
However, cheat makers claim they can bypass or spoof these defenses. Certain paid subscriptions allegedly come with anti-ban guarantees. So far, anti-cheat protection isn‘t foolproof.
Protecting Your Account from False Bans
With anti-cheat systems being so aggressive, false positives remain a risk. Here are some steps you can take to protect your account:
- Never use cheat software on your account (seems obvious but had to say it!)
- Don‘t mod or tamper with game files
- Avoid unknown third party software that interacts with the game
- Change passwords frequently
- Use two factor authentication
- Document match IDs to appeal wrongful bans
I once had my account locked temporarily while Activision reviewed my gameplay statistics. Thankfully I was able to successfully dispute the ban, but it was a nervous few days!
The Bottom Line
While aimbots aren‘t strictly illegal, using them is clearly against the rules and carries serious consequences. Anti-cheat systems are advancing, but haven‘t stamped out cheating completely.
At the end of the day, aimbots directly undermine the spirit of fair competition in online games. That‘s reason enough for any serious player to avoid cheating shortcuts and win through pure skill and effort.
I hope this guide gave you a comprehensive overview of the facts around aimbot usage! Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions.