Riot Games and Bungie have decided to work together in both companies’ ongoing crusade against people who make and sell cheats for their games. They’ve filed a joint complaint against Cameron Santos, the owner of several cheat distribution platforms, including Gatorcheats.
“[Riot Games and Bungie] seek to put a stop to the unlawful, for-profit sale and distribution of malicious software products designed to enable members of the public to gain unfair competitive advantages in the Games (i.e., to cheat), and, thereby, to impair and destroy Plaintiffs’ Games, Plaintiffs’ overall business, and the experience of Plaintiffs’ player community,” the complaint, first reported on by Polygon, reads. Riot and Bungie are looking to shut down Gatorcheats and other cheat-selling operations, as well as recoup financial damages they claim could “amount to millions of dollars.”
Cheating problems have been on the rise in many online games recently, with Riot’s Valorant and Bungie’s Destiny 2 being two of the most noticeable examples. Cheating became a major issue in Valorant before the game even left beta, while Destiny 2 has seen an uptick in the urgency around accusations of cheating since its highly competitive Trials of Osiris mode returned last year.
Cheats in online shooters can run the gamut from instant respawns to teleportation or aimbots. “The best Destiny 2 cheat that money can buy,” reads a description for a $135 product that has since been removed from Gatorcheats’ website. “3 months of access to our undetected ESP, aimbot, radar, speedhack, flyhack, noclip, instant respawn, teleport, and instant teleport kill cheat/hack (in game mod menu) for Destiny 2.” A Valorant cheat still listed on the Gatorcheats store includes one month of customizable aimbots, recoil control, and ESP hacks (letting players see opponents through walls) on sale for $90.
Last September, Gatorcheats was hit with a cease and desist from Activision Blizzard. The following month, Bungie sent one to fellow cheat sellers PerfectAim. It’s unclear how successful this legal whack-a-mole will be in the long run, or if it will act as enough of a deterrent to discourage some other cheat sellers from setting up shop. In some cases in which companies have tried too aggressively to regulate exploits in their games, players have occasionally pushed back with privacy concerns. When Valorant first came out, its Riot Vanguard anti-cheat software ran all the time on players’ PCs, whether they had the game open or not. Following weeks of backlash, Riot finally relented and gave players the option to turn it off when the game wasn’t running.
Riot Games, Bungie, and Gatorcheats did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Kotaku.
Update - 3:36 p.m. ET, 1/11/2021: A spokesperson for Riot provided the following statement:
Cheating undermines a game’s competitive integrity and erodes community trust. Riot is wholly committed to upholding these values for players, so when we become aware of a cheat maker, you bet we’re going to go after them.
Update - 9:26 p.m. ET, 1/13/2021: A spokesperson for Bungie shared similar sentiments.
“Unscrupulous players can negatively impact everyone’s gameplay experience and undermine the hard-earned achievements of our community,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “Bungie takes the threat of cheating seriously, including going after the cheat makers who profit from our players. We will aggressively pursue these cheat makers to the fullest extent permitted by law.”