Culture 5 min read

What is Duping and why Gamers do it

ESB Professional /

ESB Professional /

Main Duping Takeaway:

  • Duping is a practice that involves using a bug to illegitimately create duplicates of in-game items such as currencies.
  • Along with destabilizing the gameplay, duping also disrupt’s the game’s virtual economy.
  • Duping is a form of cheating.
  • Gamers dupe to gain an advantage over other players and to make extra money in the real world.
  • Players also use duping to quickly increase their ranking in the gaming world.

Imagine a glitch that allows you purchase anything in a video game — whether it’s cars or properties — for free. In other words, you could make multiple in-app purchases in any gaming world without spending a dime.

No, it’s not what the game developer intended. And yes, it involves introducing a bug through a process called duping.

What is Duping?

In the gaming world, duping refers to the act of manipulating a game by duplicating items. It involves using a bug to illegitimately create duplicates of in-game items such as currencies or MMOG. That way, the player can enjoy an unfair advantage over other players. Not only can duping destablize the game play, but it can also disrupt the game’s virtual economy.

Is Duplicating Cheating?

Yes, duping is a form of cheating. That’s because the game developers didn’t design the game to provide what’s essentially an infinite amoung of items to players. As a result, they usually have to dedicate effort towards patching every single glitch. This is especially true when the duping glitch affects an in-app purchases currency. In this case, it could cost the game developers thousand of dollars every month.

For this reason, developers handle duping as it would other exploits — that’s banning the involved players. Other methods include disabling aspects of the game until the issue is addressed or rolling back.

Since the consequence is so severe, you have to wonder why the practice is common.

Why do Gamers Dupe?

Gamers dupe items and currencies for two major reasons: to gain an advantage over other players and to make extra money in the real world. Most video games today rank their players based on their characters’ skills, money, and the items stashed on their arsenals. Duplicating items and currencies can help players increase their ranking within the game quickly.

Besides, players also make real money out of these duplicated items by selling them on gaming sites and forums. Unfortunately, this illegal activity has a negative impact on a game’s economy.

For instance, currency dupes can cause inflation, which can increase the prices between player-to-player transactions. Meanwhile, item dupes can reduce the value of items, particularly, the high-level ones.

Duplicate Bugs in Computer Games

Here are some notable cases of duping.

1. RuneScape Classic Duplicate Glitch

One of the most controversial and earliest duping incident happened in 2003 on the game RuneScape Classic. RuneScape is an MMORPG game developed by Jagex.

A player that went by the handle Sixfeetunder accidentally discovered how to create any non-stackable item while attempting to trade a scythe. The glitch enabled duplication of in-game objects even without owning them.

Sixfeetunder shared how the glitch works with a few players, but in the following days, hundreds already learned how to do it. Many rare items in the game, including the Pink Party hats, were duplicated hundreds of times, almost reducing the item’s value to nil.

2. Star Wars Galaxies II

Some players of the Star Wars Galaxies, which was launched in 2003, learned how to dupe in-game currency.

The game creators discovered the glitch after noticing a discrepancy in the amount of money in the virtual world. They noted that even though some of the money left the system, there’s never a shortage in the game.

Sony Online Entertainments, the distributor of the game, reportedly banned players found to have duped money. Players who were not directly involved but have accepted duped money were forbidden from playing as well.

3. Phantasy Star Online

The RPG Phantasy Star Online released in the early 2000s also suffered from duping. According to reports, players were able to activate the glitch by repeatedly talking with an NPC and a merchant.

Unfortunately, since the game’s characters and data were saved on memory cards, SEGA was not able to remove the glitch. This filled the game with duped items and money.

Final Word: Duping Today

Duping remains a serious problem in today’s video gaming world.

While advancements in technology have allowed game developers to secure their codes better, players have also become smarter. To date, policies have been put in place by gaming studios to discourage gamers from committing illegal acts.

Developers are now also more active in checking their games for potential bugs. Again, duping or exploiting duplicate bugs are illegal.

Instead of using a glitch to your benefit, report it to the developers and help make a better gaming experience for everyone.

Read More: How Science Can Help You Get Better At Video Games

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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