Blizzard Entertainment, the developer behind such universally acclaimed classics as the Warcraft, StarCraft, and the Diablo series, have found themselves accused of “stealing” source code from a programmer who created a hack for one of their latest titles.
The company, Bossland GmbH, who are behind the cheating software for Heroes of the Storm entitled “StormBuddy,” have stated their intent to sue Blizzard unless a deal can be made over acquiring the software.
Stormbuddy works by playing the game for players when they are not logged in, automatically queuing up for games and therefore levelling the player’s account. As levelling unlocks in-game features, these accounts can then be sold on the black market for players who don’t want to have to go through the same laborious process or pay to unlock those same features. Bossland are also behind similar services for other Blizzard Entertainment games, including HonorBuddy for World of Warcraft and DemonBuddy for Diablo. They currently boast 240,000 registered users, and a lifetime plus subscription to Stormbuddy currently retails for $26, making it a lucrative, growing business.
Aware of this, Blizzard had filed their own lawsuit against one of the high profile coders of StormBuddy, James “Apoc” Enright, as well as several other unnamed defendants who were involved in the development of the program. When the lawsuit hit, Enright allegedly agreed to a deal to hand over the source code for the software, even though he was only a coder in the employ of Bossland GmbH and, as they assert, not the owner.
Speaking to TorrentFreak, Bossland CEO Zwetan Letschew said, “Activision Blizzard is fully aware that Bossland GmbH, and not Apoc, is the owner of the intellectual property of Honorbuddy, Demonbuddy and Stormbuddy, considering that there are six cases that are still in progress… in Germany.”
“Today Blizzard acted in a manner as shady as possible for a multi-billion-dollar corporation. We were informed that the deal compelled Apoc to submit the entire source code of Stormbuddy, which is actually the intellectual property of Bossland GmbH, to Blizzard,” he continued. “Blizzard now possesses the whole Stormbuddy source code. There was no permission given by Bossland GmbH, nor were we contacted by Activision Blizzard, nor had Apoc the rights to give out our intellectual property.”
While pondering their next move, Letschew also stated that StormBuddy sales would stop and they would discontinue development of the software.
Should a deal not be reached and legal action go ahead, it would be something of a landmark case within the history of gaming. Multiple subscription-based cheating services make money from players by altering the in-game code of developers’ intellectual property, yet few developers have taken the stand that Blizzard did, typically relying on their own anti-cheat measures to eradicate cheaters from online games. If the case goes ahead and is ruled in Bossland’s favour, it could prevent developers from trying to directly tackle the problem in future.
Breitbart Tech is currently reaching out to Blizzard for comment.
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