Members of a hacking group creating cheats for PUBG Mobile have been ordered to pay $10 million in damages – which PUBG's developers say they'll reinvest into anti-cheat technology.
As detailed in a press release, federal courts in the US and Germany recently ruled in favor of PUBG Mobile publishers Tencent Games and Krafton in a lawsuit launched against members of a hacking group known for creating and distributing cheats within the game.
As part of the ruling, the defendants have been ordered to pay the publishers around $10 million USD in damages. In addition, the group has also been ordered to provide details pertaining to how they were able to exploit the game in the first place and are under strict instructions to cease any future illegal activities involving game cheating.
In a statement following the legal victory, Tencent Games PUBG Mobile Producer Rick Li spoke about the importance of the ruling within the game's online community. “Millions of players worldwide enjoy PUBG Mobile and we will ensure a level playing field for everyone. Sadly, the actions of hacker groups undermine the fairness of the game. These Judgements send a clear message that we will not tolerate cheating in PUBG Mobile," he said.
Krafton's Head of PUBG Mobile Product Development Minu Lee added that the publishers will continue to monitor the state of the game going forward. “Fun and fairness is the bedrock of the PUBG Mobile experience and cheating in any form will not be tolerated," said Lee. "As such, we will continue enforcing our IP rights with unwavering resolve against any who seek to tarnish or misuse them.”
The two companies announced that any funds recovered from the ruling will be reinvested into anti-cheat technology for the game.
Despite this being a victory for PUBG Mobile and its community, other online multiplayer publishers will be hoping that it sends a wider message throughout the industry. The issue of cheating has become far more prominent with the rise of free-to-play online games and has affected a number of gaming communities including the likes of Halo Infinite, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Battlefield 2042.
While a number of games such as Call of Duty: Warzone have looked to combat cheating through building upon and improving their built-in anti-cheat systems, further legal options are also being explored by a number of companies. Most recently, Activision announced that it had launched a lawsuit against EngineOwning – a popular cheats distributor who is accused of creating and distributing cheats throughout a range of Call of Duty titles. With that in mind, it's likely that Activision will be encouraged by the recent ruling in favour of PUBG Mobile and will be hoping for a similar outcome in their own pursuits.
To read more about the efforts companies are taking to combat cheaters within their games, make sure to check out this piece detailing the lawsuit that Riot and Bungie launched against the software producers creating hacks for Valorant and Destiny 2 last year.
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.