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Cheat-maker fires back at Bungie, says studio hacked them

Legal wrangling takes an unexpected turn, filled with a lot of chutzpah

Destiny 2: Forsaken - Titan unleashing a super attack on enemies Image: Bungie
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Oh, how the tables have turned. Bungie — the studio behind Destiny 2 and, originally, Halo — has gone to war with cheaters and trolls over the past two years, now it finds itself sued by one of its targets. And they allege Bungie did, more or less, what it accuses them of doing.

AimJunkies, a cheat manufacturer that has tussled with Bungie in court for more than a year, alleges that Bungie “hacked” a developer’s computer for information on the cheat makers. The claim comes in a countersuit filed last week in federal court in Washington state (first reported by TorrentFreak).

In the original lawsuit, Bungie alleged AimJunkies infringed Destiny 2’s copyrights by creating cheats for the live-service shooter. In May, AimJunkies responded that cheating isn’t breaking the law, and disputed that Bungie’s copyright claim was relevant. A judge agreed, but did give Bungie a chance to revise its argument. Bungie’s amended complaint, filed in May, revealed more information, and named additional cheat developers — specifically one named James May.

Seizing on this revelation, AimJunkies’ reply to Bungie’s claim says that Bungie actually hacked May. After introducing the BattlEye anti-cheat system last August, Bungie amended its Limited Software License Agreement (LSLA) to allow the studio to access players’ computers for the software. However, AimJunkies’ countersuit alleges that Bungie accessed James May’s computer prior to that update to the game’s LSLA.

AimJunkies is now saying Bungie violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, and “hacked” May’s computer multiple times from 2019 until the studio implemented the LSLA changes in 2021. The counterclaim alleges that Bungie used May’s PC to gather information on AimJunkies’ colleagues. In 2022, Bungie could have accessed that information from May if he had logged into Destiny 2 and agreed to the new LSLA, as all players must do.

AimJunkies, its company Phoenix Digital, and May are seeking unspecified damages with their counterclaim.

It’s all part of an ongoing and multi-layered legal battle, and it’s quite complex, with multiple accusations being thrown across the table. It’s also unclear how sound AimJunkies’ legal strategy is here. But it sure is novel, and it puts pressure on Bungie, who has been the sole aggressor throughout this and other cases so far. Whether the judge finds AimJunkies’ accusation compelling is another question.

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