Over the years video game developer and publisher Blizzard Entertainment has released many popular game titles including Overwatch and World of Warcraft.
While most gamers stick to the rules, there’s also a small group that tries to game the system. By using cheats, they play with an advantage over regular users.
The German outfit Bossland is behind several popular cheats including “Honorbuddy”, Demonbuddy, and the currently unavailable “Watchover Tyrant”. Blizzard has been fighting the company on its home turf for several years already and filed a complaint at a federal court in California as well last year.
In the complaint, Blizzard accused the cheat maker of various forms of copyright infringement, unfair competition, and violating the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision. According to Blizzard the bots and cheats also caused millions of dollars in lost sales, as they ruin the games for many legitimate players.
After Bossland had failed to have the case dismissed over a lack of jurisdiction, things went quiet earlier this year. Bossland stopped responding, and when the Court gave the German company a 24-hour ultimatum to reply, it remained silent.
In response, Blizzard has now submitted a motion for default judgment. According to the game developer, it is clear that Bossland violated the DMCA by selling its “circumvention” tools and it demands to be compensated in return.
Blizzard says it prefers a conservative estimate of the damages. Bossland previously testified that it sold 118,939 products to users in the United States since July of 2013, and Blizzard projects that at a minimum, 36% of these sales were cheats for their games.
This translates to 42,818 infringements for a total of well over $8 million is statutory damages.
“In this case, Blizzard is only seeking the minimum statutory damages of $200 per infringement, for a total of $8,563,600.00. While Blizzard would surely be entitled to seek a larger amount, Blizzard seeks only minimum statutory damages.
“Blizzard does not seek such damages as a “punitive” measure against Bossland or to obtain an unjustified windfall,” the game developer adds (pdf).
According to Blizzard, it is a “calculated and bad-faith tactic” of the German cheat manufacturer to go for a default judgment. In doing so, the company tries to shield its alleged unlawful conduct from the reach of United States.
Adding to that, the game developer believes that Bossland’s revenue from the cheats may have been even higher than the damages they are asking for.
“Notably, $200 approximates the cost of a one-year license for the Bossland Hacks. So, it is very likely that Bossland actually received far more than $8 million in connection with its sale of the Bossland Hacks.”
Since Bossland failed to defend itself, it is likely that Blizzard will get a substantial damages award. However, whether they will ever see a penny from the cheat maker is less certain.
Update: Bossland CEO Zwetan Letschew informs us that his company may take action after the default judgment comes in.
“We only filed a motion to dismiss the case, as US courts have no jurisdiction. The motion was declined, we will appeal the decision on the motion to dismiss, once the default judgment is served.”
“Bossland GmbH has no business in the US, we have no offices there, no employees, we do not advertise there, nor use us based companies.”
Additionally, Letschew points out that the average license isn’t anywhere near $200. That’s only for the legendary package of which they sold less than 100 copies to date.