Blizzard Entertainment, the well-known creators of some of the hottest games of our age, is pursuing legal action against a popular hacking group known for making the ‘buddy hacks”.
The hacking group, Bossland, is the creator of extremely popular game modification programs used in some of Blizzards most recent games such as Heartstone, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch.
Individual hackers can be hard to track down, especially if they don’t actually play the games themselves. But, Bossland is a different story. The company publicly boasts its hacking prowess and sees itself as a legitimate entity rather than an unscrupulous group of coders. It is for this reason we are seeing so many lawsuits.
Usually the way to deal with video game hackers is to catch them in the act and ban them from the game itself. Generally speaking there is little, if anything, to gain from Blizzard pursuing legal action against an individual hacker, but Bossland has made an entire business out of selling the modifications.
Seeing as Bossland has to continually fight court cases with the likes of Blizzard. Business must be good. There has to be a monetary upside to paying all of these legal fees.
In the lawsuit Blizzard claims that the company has violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the US courts seemed to agree since they ruled that Bossland must pay around 8 million dollars to Blizzard. Furthermore, Blizzard also claims that the modifications ruined the integrity of the video game itself, scarred the great reputation of Blizzard, and cost the video game developer millions in potential sales.
All of which is a fair assessment of the situation, and the proof is in the game itself. However, the more important takeaway from this court case is that Blizzard is going for the jugular. They want Bossland shut down, and rightfully so.
Blizzard has been fighting Bossland in court for ages over different video games. And those court cases have had various outcomes over the years. So why is the US court ruling that Bossland must pay 8 million dollars this time?
The answer is quite simple. The ‘play of the game’ screen. In Blizzards newest title Overwatch, the game concludes with the players viewing one player’s most epic moment in the previous round. Because Bossland’s bot essentially moves the players’ mouse to targets automatically, it is easy to tell that the player is cheating.
While we know that some players take video game competition to a new level. It is still quite obvious if a human is not moving the mouse in a first person shooter. In previous games Bossland’s bots were a bit more subtle, but the blatant inhuman precision and accuracy seen in Overwatch allowed Blizzard to know exactly who was cheating.
Despite all of the court cases Bossland doesn’t seem to be backing down. They have even gone as far as making their homepage a Blizzard vs Bossland update page. Clearly making these mods must be bringing in some serious money.
Clearly this is a monumental situation for Blizzard, and I think the ramifications of this are not clear. But, if Bossland succeeds in standing up to one of the largest video game developers it could encourage others to pursue a business in modifying other competitive games.