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Genshin Impact’s kernel-level anti-cheat no longer runs after you close the game

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Despite having over 10 million pre-registrations, Genshin Impact’s launch has been surprisingly smooth. I’m having a great time exploring its Breath of the Wild-inspired world, but this week a growing number of players took issue with its anti-cheat system that ran even after players had exited the game. Late yesterday, however, developer MiHoYo pushed out an update that turns off the anti-cheat when you exit the game and apologized.

The controversy started because Genshin Impact’s anti-cheat system has kernel-level access. Without getting too into the technical jargon, that means it basically has direct access to the raw information being processed on your computer. It’s not uncommon, both BattleEye and Easy Anti-Cheat both use kernel drivers, but both of those systems only run when the game is open. It’s a similar (albeit much smaller) controversy to Riot Games’ Valorant, which also has a kernel-based anti-cheat system that caused an uproar earlier this year. And because Riot Games and MiHoYo are both effectively Chinese companies (Riot is owned by Tencent Games) that naturally led to a lot of concerns about user privacy and data.

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