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Devs allege making and deploying cheats is illegal in new lawsuits

Developers want to crack down on cheat-makers, and even some of the players who use cheats, as much as possible.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

December 16, 2022

2 Min Read
Promo image for Bungie's Destiny 2: Trials of Osiris.

According to a recent report from Axios, several high-profile studios are looking to crack down on cheating in online games by arguing that the distribution and use of these cheats are illegal. 

Previously, game developers have been focusing on banning cheaters outright (with numbers usually in the tens of thousands). But now they've turned their legal attention on the makers of these cheats, which allow players to gain advantages in multiplayer such as seeing through walls or infinite ammo without reloads.

Creating cheats for online games is also its own profitable side industry. Some cheat-makers utilize a subscription model for users to pay a weekly or monthly fee to use cheats for specific online titles such as Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege.

One of the more notable developers to take legal action against cheat-makers has been Destiny 2 developer Bungie. Last year, it sued a trio of players who create and sell cheats for the online game, stating that their creations "induce and enable individual Destiny 2 players to create an unauthorized and infringing derivative work each time they deploy the cheat software."

Other developers to go after cheat-makers in recent years include Ubisoft (which resulted in a settlement earlier this year), Krafton, and Riot Games.

Most developers put their attention on cheat-makers because cracking down players using cheats has the potential to blow up as bad PR. 

That said, some developers have sued specific players who were cheating in their games. This past summer, Bungie went after player Luka "inkcell" Leone for both in-game cheating with third-party software and harassing members of Bungie staff.

Additionally, Epic Games filed individual lawsuits against a pair of Fortnite players in 2017 for allegedly cheating in the popular battle royale. One of the suits filed was against a minor at the time, and the other one was resolved through a settlement.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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