Blizzard has always taken an uncompromising attitude towards cheats in its games; it has already issued lifetime bans to thousands of players caught using hacks within weeks of the release of its new shooter Overwatch—even if they make new accounts or buy new copies of the game—and now it’s going after the company that makes those cheats possible.
Blizzard has filed a lawsuit in California against Bossland GMBH, the German company behind Watchover Tyrant, a programme which allows all sorts of unpleasant and unsporting cheating shenanigans. Those include a radar that shows where enemies are, and aiming assistance. Bossland has made cheat programmes for most of Blizzard’s other games, and the American firm is accusing its longtime rival of copyright infringement, unfair competition, and violation of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision.
Blizzard’s suit reads:
The Buddy Bots and the Overwatch Cheat (collectively, the “Bossland Hacks”) have caused, and are continuing to cause massive and irreparable harm to Blizzard. Blizzard’s business depends upon its games being enjoyable and fair for players of all skill levels, and Blizzard expends an enormous amount of time and money to ensure that this is the case. The Bossland Hacks destroy the integrity of Blizzard Games, thereby alienating and frustrating legitimate players and diverting revenue from Blizzard to Defendants. Defendants’ sale and distribution of the Bossland Hacks in the United States has caused Blizzard to lose millions or tens of millions of dollars in revenue, and to suffer irreparable damage to its goodwill and reputation. Moreover, by releasing “Overwatch Cheat” just days after the release of “Overwatch,” Defendants are attempting to destroy or irreparably harm that game before it even has had a chance to fully flourish.
Watchover users pay €12.95 (£11) per month for their unfair advantage, but a premium €199 package gives them access to the aimbots for a year. The programme is reportedly fairly popular according to some of the murkier parts of the internet, with thousands of users. However, that is admittedly amongst a player base that smashed past 10 million halfway through June.
Blizzard has already lost one lawsuit against Bossland in Germany, over a bot made for Heroes of the Storm. This latest suit seems like a major reopening of hostilities, even though it’s unclear how much jurisdiction a Californian court might have over a German firm.
And you couldn’t accuse Blizzard of not being thorough; one user reported that he couldn’t play Overwatch after his ban despite reformatting his entire PC, changing his hard drive ID, his MAC address, the Bios Date in registry, or even after he bought a new VPN.