Call of Duty publisher Activision is kicking off 2022 by asking a court to shut down Warzone cheat maker EngineOwning, opening up a new legal front in its never-ending war against the hackers plaguing its popular online battle royale. In addition to lost revenue, the company currently under fire for widespread workplace discrimination and mistreatment blames EngineOwning for “irreparable damage to its goodwill and reputation.”
As first reported by The Verge, the lawsuit was filed yesterday in the Central District Court of California and alleges that EngineOwning infringed on Activision’s copyright, violated its terms of service, and hurt sales through the distribution of aimbots, triggerbots, and other cheats.
“Defendants irreparably harm the ability of Activision’s legitimate customers to enjoy and participate in the online experiences carefully created by Activision,” the lawsuit reads. “That, in turn, may cause users to grow dissatisfied with the COD Games, lose interest, and stop playing.”
EngineOwning advertises “high quality cheats” for a number of games in the Call of Duty series as well as other online shooters like Halo Infinite and Battlefield V. The subscription package for Warzone currently costs less than a dollar a day and according to the EngineOwning website remains “undetected.”
The lawsuit follows months of in-game ban waves, with Activision claiming that “tens of thousands” of player accounts have been caught making use of EngineOwning’s services over the past year. The publisher rolled out kernel-level access Ricochet anti-cheat software late last year in the ongoing arms race against online multiplayer hackers.
The lawsuit also comes as some developers at Warzone maker Raven Software and across parts of its parent company enter their third week of striking over layoffs to QA testers announced in December. The group announced on Twitter yesterday that Activision management still hasn’t acknowledged its demands, which include meetings to discuss the future of the Raven QA department.
“Raven QA execs are so anti-worker that they’re willing to let their games fail if it means ignoring the demands of its employees,” the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees wrote on Twitter. To play up the alleged damages to its business in its cheat-maker lawsuit, Activision reminded the court that the Call of Duty franchise “generated over $3 billion in net bookings” in the last year alone.