Epic Games Suing Stream Snipers for Cheating at Fortnite Battle Royale

fortniteThere is an interesting situation in the video game world in that a company called Epic Games is suing players of their game, Fortnite Battle Royale, for cheating. What’s that you say, video games and the law colliding? Have I died and fallen into the noodly appendages of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? It’s time for a Happy Dance and a blog.

A website called Twitch.tv allows players of video games to stream their efforts for a live audience. One of my favorite streamers, Sacriel, plays the game in question. It is what is called a Survival game with cooperative elements. This means one player or a team of players roam the world finding weapons and battling other players or teams of players.

A player like Sacriel joins a particular instance of the game. This lasts until there is only one player or team left on that particular instance, at which point another game begins. Cheaters watch the most popular streamers and join the same game, this is called Stream Sniping. The cheaters then attempt to defeat the streamer and often use against the rules code supplements to make themselves virtually invulnerable. This is the cheating aspect of the situation. Epic Games bans such cheaters when they spot them but the Stream Snipers generally create a new account fairly quickly. In this case one of the people being sued created at least nine other accounts after being banned.

In the legal system, in order to sue someone successfully you generally have to prove damages. So, you might well ask, how is cheating damaging Epic Games? It’s just a few players being killed and they can just start up another game, right? Not to my way of thinking although we will have to wait until the courts weigh in on the matter.

One of the interesting realities of people using platforms like Twitch.tv to stream games is the revenue thus generated. When an engaging and technically skilled player like Sacriel plays a game like Fortnite Battle Royal, the game gets enormous promotion. When gamers see Sacriel enjoying himself immensely they too want to play the game and make the purchase. They even get an opportunity to test their skills against such streamers which is a big selling point. There is quite clearly direct correlation to game sales and popular streamers.

When Stream Snipers become prevalent, top streamers like Sacriel simply get fed up and quit the game. There isn’t much point in playing whenever you start a new game an invincible opponent arrives and kills you. It’s not fun for the streamer and it is not enjoyable for the audience to watch. Therefore, the streamer stops playing which, in turn, directly affects game sales.

As a Libertarian I’m also quite happy with the way this has played out. Epic Games attempted to simply ban such cheaters but when they were unable to effectively implement this tactic they were forced into legal remedies. I always appreciate trying to solve the problem without resorting to legal or law enforcement agencies, but there comes a time when reason is not an effective tool.

I think Epic Games has a case and I’m quite interested to see how this all plays out in court. I’m not of the opinion the Stream Snipers should be put in prison but hit her or his wallet and I think you have effectively curtailed the practice, and that’s a good thing.

Tom Liberman

16 thoughts on “Epic Games Suing Stream Snipers for Cheating at Fortnite Battle Royale

    • Thanks for the comment, Alex.

      If people didn’t have a weakness to high speed projectiles then bullets wouldn’t hurt. Your argument is that it’s perfectly acceptable to steal from people because they didn’t have enough security. It’s classic rationalization to justify your own wrongdoing.

      Tom

      • To least half the players, all the others seem invincible even with no cheats.
        To every one else, the pro streamers are invincible. I could never win against one. What pisses me off is the fact there are pro players, making a living at the game, picking on the rest of us, ruining our games, while they make a living at it. There beyond good. How the hell is that fair play for the rest of us? For noobs, a cheat program only gives him a fighting chance against the pro players.
        If they sue any one, they should sue the pro players for making money on the game, ruining every one elses games. I have spent over $1500 to get better. 1080 grafix card, 1ms high frame rate monitor, half a dozen mice and controllers. WHen normal players suck, and they see the pro’s playing flawlessly it seems un obtainable. Regular players quit because they can never be that good, and if all you do is die, the game is no fun.

        • Hi, David. Thank you for the comment.

          Your argument appears to be that people who are really good at something ruin it for the people who aren’t as good. I hope when I put it in those terms you can see the absurdity. People in life who get very good at things deserve rewards for their effort.

          I’m certainly not opposed to servers with skill ratings so that regular players have a chance for victory. That would be up to game developers and demand.

          Tom

    • Hi, Jonathan.

      Thank you for the comment, and yes. They did settle. It was confidential so I don’t know for how much. The usual non-disclosures were in effect. At least that’s the last I read of it.

      Tom

  1. This proves that the game is having vulnerabilities and should be resolved quickly. I have seen that online streamers are being cheated in this way. Joining the live stream should be stopped or some security patches must be developed.

    • You certainly can’t go anywhere without someone turning things political when they are not. Yes, I’m talking to you. Grab a life.

      Tom

  2. Its dumb tho because when a streamer gets killed if the person dances the streamer automatically assumes that he got stream sniped. I know for a fact if I killed ninja and didnt know he was in my game I would dance but then I will be named a stream sniper which I am not.

    • I agree accusing someone of stream sniping without evidence is wrong but in this case not only was their stream sniping going on but also illegal use of aiming code which is the bigger issue.

  3. Pingback: Fortnite Pits Pros against Casual Players in Enormous Mismatches - Tom Liberman

    • I’m not certain how they handle the situation. I would imagine it’s somewhat of a case by case situation but Fortnite is so popular they can probably do as they please with little worry.

      Tom

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