The Grand Theft Auto series welcomed gamers into lawless Los Santos, but on Thursday, a federal judge brought down the hammer on programs that enable real-life players to cheat in the games. U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton handed down the injunction against David Zipperer of Georgia.
Take-Two Interactive, which makes Grand Theft Auto Online, experienced a loss of at least $500,000 due to these programs, according to its initial complaint on March 23. Single-player mods are available with his programs, but the online community and publisher began to take issue when the online multiplayer sphere was impacted. The injunction seeks to stop sales of his product, which allows God Mode and can enable the practice of “griefing.” Online communities have engaged in substantial debate as to what qualifies as griefing, but it mostly involves creating inconvenience through level and firepower discrepancies between players.
Despite trouble with its multiplayer community for years, Take-Two has experienced much success with Grand Theft Auto V. Efforts to ban people who receive in-game money as a result of using cheats started in 2013. At the end of 2017, Rockstar reported a record but unspecified number of online players, and in February of this year, GTA V cleared 90 million sales four years after its initial release.
The judge is not seeking to award damages as Zipperer is unemployed; he also dismissed an unfair competition claim. There are a variety of excellent mods for single player, but a pair of Zipperer’s mods, called Menyoo and Absolute, are named in the injunction as programs he can no longer produce or distribute. He’s prohibited from “creating derivative works based upon any portion of Grand Theft Auto V” and cannot assist others in the community in efforts to do the same.
The move comes amid some unrest in the community over a potentially broken item, the powerful Oppressor Mk II. It’s a hovercraft with a jet engine and a massive missile launcher that players can purchase for $4 million of in-game currency. Rampant cheaters are hard to separate from harmless menu modders, but Stanton stated that the injunction serves public interest by encouraging Take-Two to invest more in video games.
The ruling validates Take-Two’s rules of the road for mods, and online players should now enjoy a more balanced open world in multiplayer. July’s launch of in-game nightclub ownership offers options for players wanting to go legit with a business or cover up nefarious in-game underground activities.