In Call of Duty, the chaos is usually confined to the battlefield, but now the successful first-person shooter game is at the center of a legal battle. On Jan. 4, Activision Publishing, which is a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, filed a lawsuit against EngineOwning. EngineOwning advertises cheats for Call of Duty games and other popular online shooter games. Activision wants to shut down that software because it allows people to cheat in any Activision-published game.
According to an Activision spokesperson, “By this lawsuit, Activision seeks to put a stop to unlawful conduct by an organization that is distributing and selling for profit numerous malicious software products designed to enable members of the public to gain unfair competitive advantages (i.e., to cheat) in the Call of Duty games. These ongoing activities damage Activision’s games, its overall business, and the experience of the Call of Duty player community.”
As stated in the lawsuit: “The cheating software enables players to manipulate the Call of Duty games to their personal advantage, such as by automatically aiming weapons, revealing the locations of opponents, and allowing players to see information that is not normally available to players because it would give them an unfair advantage within the game.”
Activision Cracks Down on Cheaters
Throughout 2021, Activision focused on stopping cheaters in the Call of Duty games and particularly focused on its extremely popular, free-to-play game Call of Duty: Warzone. In December, Activision debuted its new international Ricochet anti-cheating system for Call of Duty: Warzone. The company reports that the new system allowed them to locate and ban 48,000 cheater accounts since its launch.
The Activision spokesperson says the company maintains the defendants “have been fully aware that their conduct violates Activision’s rights but nevertheless have brazenly continued their activities.”
Activision Bans Thousands of Cheaters
In the lawsuit, Activision names 50 “Does” and includes the information that the company believes it knows the real identities of some individuals involved with EngineOwning, but also acknowledges that “the true names and capacities, whether individual, corporate, associate or otherwise, of the Doe defendants are unknown to Activision.”
In the lawsuit, Activision states it has “been able to identify and ban hundreds of thousands of accounts using cheating software in the Call of Duty games in just over the past year.”
How Call of Duty Became a Cultural Phenomenon for Activision Blizzard
Activision published the first version of the first-person shooter game in 2003. Since then, it has spawned a successful franchise of games set during World War II, the Cold War, and even the future.
According to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, fans of the Call of Duty franchise can expect “the characters, the story, the gameplay — it will only get richer as well. Eventually, these characters will look more like a film and stories will get more real and in depth, and innovations like Kinect and Move using voice to control what’s on the screen, and movements to control what’s on the screen — those will bring big changes to all games in the future.”
Activision is going after cheaters to give all players a fair, fighting chance at Call of Duty. “A lot of our Call of Duty players are former military, and the game is a great distraction for the folks in active service,” explains Kotick.