June 8, 2022

Destiny 2 Cheat Creators: $13.5 million settlement with Bungie 

In a rather spectacular decision to a lawsuit filed by Bungie in August of the previous year, the proprietors of the Destiny 2 cheat domains, LaviCheats, Veterancheats, and Elite Boss Tech, will have to deliver a settlement totaling approximately $13.5 million in damages.

The math of this settlement arrives from a fine of $2,000 per breach of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions — 17 US Code Section 1201 a and b — multiplied by the roughly 6,765 unique downloads of the program in question.

According to a report by Andy Maxwell on TorrentFreak, Bungie accused the defendants of breaching copyright law in addition to racketeering, fraud, money laundering, and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violations.

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Cheating in games like Destiny 2 has forced developers to operate increasingly rigorous methods to battle the prevalence of these programs. Unfortunately, these countermeasures can be challenging and costly to utilize, especially in the case of live service games like Destiny 2, which contain an ecosystem that is regularly altering.

Bungie stated before court filings that, in addition to compromising the gameplay understanding of Destiny 2, the availability of these cheats represents its “anti-cheating vigil can never cease.” At the same time, instituting countermeasures is “exorbitantly expensive.”

The case initially seemed to be headed to trial, but now, a consensus has been reached with the defendants, Robert James Duthie Nelson, Elite Boss Tech, and 11020781 Canada.

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This agreement has the defendants accepting liability for the creation and distribution of these cheats, that the infringement was willful, and that their software was designed to circumvent technological measures employed by Bungie to control access to its software.

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This settlement lines up with similar suits filed by Bungie over the past year in cooperation with Ubisoft and another with Riot Games that both aimed at cheat manufacturers creating illicit programs for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege and Valorant, in addition to Destiny 2. The case got up with Riot Games yielded $2 million in damages to the creators, while the joint case with Ubisoft is always pending litigation

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Cases like these have become increasingly common and aren’t without precedent. For example, Activision sued Call of Duty cheat maker EngineOwning citing similar charges and seeking damages in the hundreds of millions.

Destiny 2 is a free-to-play online-only multiplayer first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie. It was initially released as a pay-to-play game in 2017 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows. It evolved free-to-play, employing the games as a service model, under the New Light tag on October 1, 2019, observed by the game’s release on Stadia the subsequent month, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S venues in December 2020.

Activision published the game until December 31, 2018, when Bungie received the publishing privileges to the franchise. It is the series to 2014’s Destiny and its following expansions.

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The game is set in a “mythic science fiction” world and features a multiplayer “shared-world” environment with aspects of role-playing contests. Like the original, exercises in Destiny 2 are split among player versus player (PvP) and player versus environment (PvE) game types. In addition to standard story missions, PvE features three-player “strikes” dungeons and six-player raids.

An accessible roam patrol mode is also available for each destination which features public events and activities not available in the original. These activities emphasize exploring the goals and interactions with non-player characters (NPCs); the actual Destiny only featured NPCs in social spaces. PvP features objective-based manners, as well as standard deathmatch game modes.

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Players assume the role of a Guardian, guardians of Earth’s last safe city, as they exert a power called Light to save humanity from different alien races and combat the imminent threat of the Darkness. Like the original Destiny, the game features expansion assemblies that further the story and add new content. In addition, year One of Destiny 2 featured two small branches, Curse of Osiris and Warmind.

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A third, significant growth, Forsaken, began Year Two with an overhaul of gameplay. The release of the subsequent development, Shadowkeep (October 2019), started Year Three. Shadowkeep and future releases are deemed standalone releases, not demanding players to own the last premium content.

Released alongside this fourth expansion was a rendition of Destiny 2 called New Light, a free-to-play re-release of Destiny 2, which also retained access to the first two expansions. Distinct seasonal passes also became public for every season’s content. While the main Destiny 2 game has since been free-to-play, all other content needs buying.

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