Games

Bungie Takes Down a 'Destiny 2' Cheat Maker With a Legal Threat

'Destiny 2' cheat maker PerfectAim is no longer offering its services after getting a cease and desist letter from Bungie. Why don't game developers stop all cheaters this way?
October 19, 2020, 5:57pm
Destiny 2
Image: Bungie

The developer of Destiny 2 forced the makers of a popular cheat service to take down their bundle for the game with a cease and desist letter. 

Over the weekend, the cheat service PerfectAim posted a notice on its official website announcing that the cheat was "no longer available" after they received a cease and desist letter from Bungie, the company that develops Destiny 2. The letter suggested that PerfectAim's cheat violated the game's license agreement, according to the cheat makers. 

"We won't comment on whether these claims are justified or not," PerfectAim makers wrote on the page where players used to be able to buy its cheat software for Destiny 2. "We decided to comply with this demand regardless." 

Screen Shot 2020-10-19 at 7.52.48 AM.png

A screenshot of the notice posted by Perfect Aim announcing the takedown of its Destiny 2 cheat. (Image: VICE)

PerfectAim and Bungie did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

This is not the first time a video game maker uses a legal threat as a way to go after the companies and developers that provide players with cheats. In August, Activision reportedly filed a lawsuit against CXCheats, accusing it of violating the terms of service of the game by selling software that helped players cheat in Call of Duty. The makers of CXCheats announced they were ceasing development of the cheat as a result of the lawsuit in an announcement posted on the cheat's Discord channel

Gaming companies and cheat developers are always engaged in an elaborate cat and mouse game. Most of the time, companies use their anti-cheat systems to identify cheaters, who are customers of companies like PerfectAim, and kick them out of games. 

Other times, they use their legal muscle to go after the cheat makers themselves, but that's not always effective. 

"If you don't have a strong anti-cheat [system] and you are suing someone it's pointless since they will just share the same source to a friend or sell it to a developer," said the community lead for AntiCheatPD, a community driven effort to stop cheaters.

Do you develop cheats for games or reverse engineer anti-cheat software? Or do you work on anti-cheat software? We’d love to hear from you. You can contact Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, OTR chat at lorenzofb@jabber.ccc.de, or email lorenzofb@vice.com

In other words, according to a person who develops anti-cheat systems, "you need to play whack-a-mole with DMCA requests (to YouTube, Squarespace or wherever) or you need to send a cease and desist letter to the actual cheat developer (and have them believe that you will sue them if they don't comply)." 

"Either way you run the risk of the cheat developer reforming under a new name (often with better OPSEC) if they think they can get away with it," said the person, who asked to remain anonymous because they were not allowed to speak to the press. 

That's why in the industry this is seen as a less than ideal solution, and it often doesn't really stop the proliferation and sale of cheats. 

"It's only really worth doing against the biggest cheat developers or the ones with terrible OPSEC. You also get constrained by your legal department's interest and availability," he said. "What's unusual about this case is that the cheat developer just tells the world what is going on. More commonly the cheat just disappears from sale or the entire operation vanishes."  

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