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Blow to PS2 Online gaming as SOCOM cheats emerge

PlayStation 2 online gaming received a severe setback this week, with game peripheral and cheat product manufacturer Fire International announcing that it is distributing cheats for popular online title SOCOM: US Navy SEALs.

The game is already rife with cheats in the USA, according to our sources there, but having cheat products commercially available for it within weeks of its UK launch is a PR nightmare for Sony regardless.

The cheats, which are designed to work with Fire International's Xploder cheat product, allow players to use unlimited ammunition, eliminate recoil on weapons and fire more rapidly than should be possible.

An unrepentant Fire actually issued a press release boasting about the "breakthrough", which happily crowed that "Xploder is the one and only option for gamers who wish to crack ALL their games wide open.... The Xploder total cheating system once again blazes a trail and leaves the competition in its wake!"

This is obviously bad news for PS2 Online as a whole, although Sony claims that the forthcoming release of SOCOM 2 will patch up these cheating problems and will introduce an Xbox Live style system that enables the banning of cheats from the online service entirely.

One can't help but feel that Fire International - whose product line-up also includes the popular Blaze peripherals - is also walking a fine line here. If a lot of pissed off online gamers decide to boycott all of the company's products - as happened to a PC graphics card manufacturer which released cheat drivers for its cards a few years back - it could end up turning the company's "breakthrough" rather sour in the final analysis.

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Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.