Activision Wins $14.5 Million in “Call of Duty” Cheat Engine Lawsuit

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In a significant legal victory for gaming giant Activision, the United States District Court of the Central District of California has ordered cheat maker EngineOwning to pay $14.5 million in damages for their role in creating and distributing cheats for Call of Duty. The ruling, delivered by District Judge Michael Fitzgerald, marks a notable triumph in Activision’s ongoing battle against cheating in its popular video game series.

The court found EngineOwning and its affiliates guilty of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. In addition to the hefty damages, the defendants must hand over the domain name of their website, engineowning.to, to Activision, cease the creation and sale of cheats, and pay $292,912 in attorney fees.

EngineOwning, known for offering cheats like “Aimbot,” which automatically aims and fires, and wallhacks that allow players to see through walls, has been a thorn in the side of the gaming community for years. Despite the court order, their website remains operational, continuing to sell cheats for various games, including Call of Duty.

The lawsuit against EngineOwning is part of a growing trend where gaming companies turn to legal action to curb cheating. In 2022, Bungie secured a $13.5 million settlement against Destiny 2 cheat makers. Activision had previously won $3 million in settlements with two individuals — Ignacio Gayduchenko and Manuel Santiago — associated with EngineOwning, but many other defendants ignored the lawsuit, leading to this default judgment.

However, in a statement published on its website, EngineOwning dismissed the court’s ruling, claiming it was illegitimate and vowing to release a new cheat for Modern Warfare 3 and Warzone. This raised questions about the effectiveness of legal actions in fully eradicating cheating, especially outside U.S. courts’ jurisdiction. As Activision prepares to release Black Ops 6 later this year, it hopes this ruling will deter future cheating, though the persistence of cheat makers suggests that the battle is far from over.

Words by Khushboo Malhotra


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