Activision sues company that sells software to cheat on “Call of Duty”

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On its site, EngineOwning notably offers cheating tools for several popular Activision multiplayer games, such as the titles of the “Call of Duty” saga (“Warzone”, the recent “Vanguard”, but also “Modern Warfare”).

Activision, one of the largest video game publishers in the world, filed a complaint, Tuesday January 4, against EngineOwning, a major site devoted to cheating in multiplayer games. Like many other sites, EngineOwning sells software to its customers that provides advantages in online shooting games, such as automatically aiming at opponents or seeing through walls, for example. The software is sold as a subscription, prices ranging from 5 euros for three days to 45 euros for six months, depending on the game.

On its site, EngineOwning offers tools to cheat several popular Activision multiplayer games, such as the titles of the saga Call of Duty (Warzone, the recent Vanguard, but also Modern Warfare). The site “Lends itself to the development, sale, distribution and marketing of a variety of cheating and hacking tools for popular online games, with Call of Duty games at the forefront”, explains Activision in its complaint, filed in the United States before a California court.

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Several German nationals targeted

The court document targets two German business entities, CMM Holdings SA and EngineOwning Software UG, accused of being directly linked to the site selling cheating software. Several individuals are also targeted by the complaint, including Valentin Rick, a German citizen appointed by Activision as the main director of EngineOwning and the boss of the two aforementioned companies. “Activision contacted Rick in 2018 and 2020 regarding his involvement with EngineOwning and its site, and in response he claimed to have sold the site to an unidentified buyer. Rick never provided proof of such a sale ”, underlines the American editor in its complaint.

Cheating software is the subject of a cat-and-mouse game between game publishers and developers seeking to deceive the vigilance of the studios

Several other people are named, most of them residing in Germany, and accused of participating or having been involved in the operation of EngineOwning or the development of software. Other Internet users were identified in the document only by their pseudonym. Cheating software has been around for a long time and is the subject of a cat-and-mouse game between competitive game publishers, which are installing increasingly sophisticated detectors, and developers seeking to deceive the vigilance of studios by creating discrete tools. The most famous, like the wall hacks (to see through the walls) and the aimbots (to automatically aim at the opponent’s head for example) are the obsession of studios, because they spoil the experience of non-cheating players and can scare users away if they become too prevalent.

This is not the first time that cheating software developers and sellers have been targeted by the courts. In April, Chinese authorities, in partnership with tech giant Tencent, carried out an operation against a large such network operating from China and accused of generating more than $ 70 million in revenue.

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On its site, EngineOwning notably offers cheating tools for several popular Activision multiplayer games, such as the titles of the “Call of Duty” saga (“Warzone”, the recent “Vanguard”, but also “Modern Warfare”). NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP Activision, one of the largest video game publishers in the world, filed a complaint,…

On its site, EngineOwning notably offers cheating tools for several popular Activision multiplayer games, such as the titles of the “Call of Duty” saga (“Warzone”, the recent “Vanguard”, but also “Modern Warfare”). NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP Activision, one of the largest video game publishers in the world, filed a complaint,…

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