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Video game companies sue ABQ resident over cheating software

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Two major video game publishers have filed a lawsuit against an Albuquerque resident who they believe made as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars from selling cheating software for two popular online games.

On Jan. 8, Riot Games and Bungie filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in California against Cameron Santos and Santos’ company, GatorCheats, for creating and selling software that gives users unfair advantages in online shooting games Valorant and Destiny 2.

Court records show that a court summons was sent to Santos at an address on Menaul. He could not be reached for comment last week, and it’s unclear whether he has an attorney.

A message on the homepage says: “In compliance with a lawsuit filed by Riot Games and Bungie, GatorCheats will be shut down indefinitely.”

The lawsuit says cheating software sold by GatorCheats allows users to manipulate Valorant and Destiny 2 by automatically aiming weapons, revealing the location of opponents and providing other advantages normally unavailable to players.

The court action says Santos and GatorCheats are causing irreparable harm to the companies’ business interests and is causing them to lose millions in revenue.

“A vital part of the player experience is the fairness and integrity of the games, and thus plaintiffs invest an enormous amount of time and money to ensure that all players stand on equal footing and have a fair chance of progressing in the games,” according to the lawsuit. “If players perceive that others are cheating or have an unfair advantage, they will grow frustrated with the games and stop playing.”

The suit says GatorCheats users were provided access to Valorant cheats for one month for $90, three months for $250 and for a lifetime for $500. For Destiny 2, cheats were $100 for three months and $200 for lifetime access.

Riot and Bungie, in court documents, said they estimated that Santos made anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars from selling the software.

“Cheating undermines a game’s competitive integrity and erodes community trust,” Riot Games spokesman Joe Hixson said in an email to the Journal. “Riot is wholly committed to upholding these values for players, so when we become aware of a cheat maker, you bet we’re going to go after them.”

The lawsuit is asking for Santos and GatorCheats to shut down the cheating software. It also asks that the plaintiffs be awarded statutory and punitive damages as well as restitution for proceeds Santos made from selling the software.