Epic Games Sues Cheater over “Stealing” Fortnite V-Bucks

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Megalith, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    Epic Games’ quest of taking cheaters to court continues: this time, the company is suing a New Zealander for “creating an exploit that allows users to get free V-bucks.” The accused, Yash Gosai, allegedly promoted his work on YouTube, which allowed numerous players to “steal” from Epic.

    V-bucks are the game’s currency and can be bought through an online store, starting at $9.99. The virtual coins allow players to purchase skins for their character, as well as other game tools. According to Epic, people who create and use these kinds of free-money exploits are stealing from the game publisher.
     
  2. blandead

    blandead Limp Gawd

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    Imagine if blizzard tried this for Diablo.
     
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  3. gxp500

    gxp500 Gawd

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    You wouldn't download a car would you? YES WE WOULD!
     
  4. Gigus Fire

    Gigus Fire 2[H]4U

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    Steal something of no value? This should be fun
     
  5. MV75

    MV75 Gawd

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    When they either include it with the game, or force download and hide both behind an artificial lock, yea, it's not really stealing as you have already paid for the content on the disk, or that they have push updated on you.
     
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  6. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

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    There is a value, the company put a price on said "stuff", now it may not have any value to you or me but it's still a theft.
     
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  7. ChoGGi

    ChoGGi [H]ard|Gawd

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    Gee Epic Games, thanks for telling us that you don't know how to properly authenticate purchases :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  8. Maxx

    Maxx [H]ard|Gawd

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    Digital goods do have tangible value but people refuse to accept that. If lootboxes are gambling (Battlefront 2), they have tangible value. If locking shit away behind a clever DLC (Destiny 2) is a breach of contract or good faith, they have tangible value. It's easy to look at a digital download and not understand that the costs of development, publishing, advertising, the physical server back-end, etc. are all the same. Of course we're discussing virtual currency here which is a different animal - or is it? The only thing that separates it from fiat is the fact it's not government-based and is not regulated. Well, developers are becoming mini-governments of their own domain (PUBG) and clearly Epic Games (Fortnite) is trying to regulate the currency. Consider that PUBG is under fire right now for allowing rampant cheating which has a trail right back to real money for in-game goods of which the developer gets a cut. Clearly, there is intrinsic value in a few bits and bytes on a server.

    My point is, of course, that the more the developers push on these ends - whether lootboxes or suing over V-bucks - the closer they get to opening themselves up to government regulation and legal identification of digital/virtual goods as tangible properties. As gamers this is a battle-line that we want drawn as while only a small subset of people benefit from "stealing" virtual currency, the majority of us suffer from digital shenanigans in one way or another. Many developers already reap the benefits of a physical property (e.g. region-based pricing for digital downloads) while keeping all the benefits and no downsides (although this is changing in many places like the EU). So, let them sue, they bring on their own destruction.
     
  9. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX 2[H]4U

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    Techincally its digital Monopoly money that the company decided to put a value on it. That doesn't change that it has no value. You want a digital currency to have value then make it into a cryptocurrency. Otherwise I fully support whoever wasted their time to "steal" fake money.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX 2[H]4U

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    The problem with any in game currency is that at some point the game dies. No online game lasts forever, and at some point all those digital goods will vanish along with the game. Therefore digital goods and the currency you use to buy them with have no tangible value. Just cause a company says it has value, doesn't mean it actually does. Here's 100 Monopoly bucks. Anyone wanna give me $100 US Dollars? Or better yet, Bitcoin? Course not, cause even if there was any perceived value today, it'll be lost tomorrow, cause in the end it's just fake money.

    This would be less confusing if they actually used real money instead of fake money, but of course they couldn't give you the illusion of spending little to get big numbers. Cause after all, bigger numbers are better right?

     
  11. WhoMe

    WhoMe Gawd

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    Dang it, people are buying our software and cheating...let's not write better code, let's sue...so much easier, besides our lawyers aren't earning enough.

    Edit: slight word change to make it a more emotive statement.
     
  12. rudy

    rudy [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Is that a problem?
    The problem with fiat currency is that at some point the country dies. No country or currency lasts forever.
    See how that argument doesn't hold up.

    Something has value if people think it does, no matter how temporary, lets take a coupon for example that expires by the end of the week. It still has value $5 off some product, if someone steals it they are still stealing. Everything in life is temporary but as long as it has some emotional value than it is valuable. And there are many things in life that have value that is consumable and temporary that no one blinks an eye at spending money on because we are used to them, but then people forget to apply the same logic to digital goods. Lets say you pay to get into a night club. You can't take anything home (maybe a woman hehe) you are paying for an experience not for a product and that experience is done when you walk out. Even so humans pour plenty of money into these types of things, movies, shows, concerts, carnivals, amusement parks etc.... Video games are just these types of consumables. You just have to ask yourself what it is worth to you. For me personally I don't put much value in lots of things like pricey drinks (alchohol coffee etc...) that other people put lots of value in, however I can still appreciate that they do find it valuable. And I like to think that they will be open minded and understand when I give out $50 steam gift cards to people whom often use it to buy guns in CSGO.
     
  13. rudy

    rudy [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I think like most things in life it's good that they take a multifaceted approach. No amount of good coding is going to stop all cheaters, some things are easier to secure than others. Sending a clear message to cheaters does have some advantages that the community will appreciate.
     
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  14. Azphira

    Azphira [H]ard|Gawd

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    The same excuses people make when stealing movies or music. The same excuses people make when there is an attack on cheating.
     
  15. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

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    You kind of are missing the point on what it means for something to have "value". They have 'something' whether it is tangible or not is irrelevant, they put a set amount on what it is worth for someone else to have it, if you don't want it then it has no value to you, if someone else is willing to pay money for it then it most certainly does have value. It's funny you bring up cryptocurrency because what really gives that value at all? Because you "worked" to get some of it? Or the fact someone is willing to take X amount of it for Y amount of goods (or money)? It really is no different than stock certificates, or comic books, or a phrase, if someone puts value on it, then it has value, just maybe not to you.
     
  16. WhoMe

    WhoMe Gawd

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    Probably, I was just feeling a bit snarky ;).
     
  17. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

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    Ok here some company sells these pieces of paper called stock certificates, they have value yes? Now hold onto those stock certificates for an set amount of time, no company lasts forever, eventually that stock will be worthless, but there was a time which it did have worth, aka value. Ask my mom who worked for AT&T, and eventually had thousands of stock from this company called Lucent Technologies, and like many middle class families who don't know anything about how stocks work she simply kept it until the value went down to nothing.
     
  18. Gigus Fire

    Gigus Fire 2[H]4U

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    The difference between stocks and bonds is that the government recognizes them and their value, plus you need to pay taxes on gains and can write off losses.
    Virtual currency has no government recognition and can't increase in value, nor (typically) the items that you buy can you trade/sell to others, nor do you pay taxes on these. Comparing them isn't really accurate.
    When you buy stocks, you can sell them (or at least try) for any price. There's a level of ownership. There's even shareholder meetings and dividends that the company pays you for being a part owner. Typically with virtual goods you don't even own the items that they sell you.
     
  19. lilbabycat

    lilbabycat 2[H]4U

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    I put a significant amount of time into Fortnite in between PoE leagues this late summer / fall. Fortnite's SP mode has MASSIVE potential, with great art, style, characters, core gameplay, etc. But its just a shitty grind with repetitive content. Progression requires getting lucky with loot crates. Loot crates of course can be farmed (insane time requirement after the mid 20's) or bought. But even if you buy, you aren't guaranteed to get the thing you need to progress; be it a gun, hero, helper, trap, etc etc etc (there are many many categories with specific stats "needed").

    And to top it all off, there is price tag on the game itself right now because its "beta". So its a F2P loot box model WITH a purchase price on top. Its a damn shame because the game has huge potential that is massively wasted.
     
  20. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX 2[H]4U

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    That holds true, for how money works recently, but before bank notes you had gold and gold lasted beyond a country. Also how often do countries fall compared to games? Even Venezuela with it's current situation still has value in its currency. When game servers close, so does your purchases.

    [​IMG]
    Except coupons are used to buy real goods or services. Fake money is used to buy digital goods you don't technically own. The only thing that limits it is a set expiration date.
    Everyone has an issue with these practices, and they're just not right. The only reason V-Bucks exists is to convert dollars to a currency that has a much larger number. $10 gets you 1000 V-Bucks. Why? Other than to exploit your brains lack of understand that they're messing with you. Just use dollars or euros already.

    [​IMG]

    Pay attention to VRchat where it's a game that people make 3D models for. They give away these models for free and people prefer this over paid models because it expresses their creativity. Meanwhile you can buy a digital sword or skin for 100 V-Bucks. If it's easy enough that a poorly done Knuckles is now all the rage, then what reason do I have to pay for something Epic Games has made?

    [​IMG]
     
  21. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX 2[H]4U

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    Is it cheating? You're just doing what someone does with disposable money.

     
  22. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot [H]ard|Gawd

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    Epic had better be careful about trying to get V-bucks ruled as having tangible value. If they succeed and recover "damages" from this person, what happens in the future when they want to shut down the game server? Folks could sue for unrecoverable V-bucks since the servers are no longer available and use Epic's own court case as precedent that V-bucks have real world value.
     
  23. Maxx

    Maxx [H]ard|Gawd

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    There's a reason gift cards have so many exceptions and can even expire. If I buy a $20 eShop card for Nintendo I assume it's as good as cash but the reality is of course very different if you read the fine print. The reason I compared virtual currency to fiat currency is because how similar they actually are, I could just as likely say oops maybe I shouldn't have exchanged all my USD for Venezuelan bolivars a few years ago (to point: permanence has no bearing on tangibility). Regulation is a key difference and here we have Epic Games attempting to regulate it - effectively opening the discussion up to government interference because it crosses the line over into real value, as does gambling on lootboxes, region pricing, and more. The EU has been progressive in this regard while the U.S. takes a more laissez-faire approach ("let the market handle it") but there comes a tipping point or threshold when you gain legal precedent; that was more or less the point of my post. It doesn't matter if you think it's tangible or not, if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck it'll get treated like a duck by the government (unless you feel it's possible to rule in favor of V-bucks being "stolen" without it having value).
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  24. 0neTwo

    0neTwo Limp Gawd

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    Take a pic of the "V-Bucks", copy it 20k times to a thumb drive, send it to them.

    Debt paid in full.
     
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  25. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

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    So for something to have value it must be able to increase in value? That seems like a fairly silly definition. Ask Epic Games if any government entity taxes them when people give them money for their "goods" that have "no value". So they don't change in value, then you should never have to be taxed on them as an individual.

    But ok lets get away from virtual currency, lets take a game. Now a days there is no level of ownership, many are digital, you don't actually own anything you simply have a license to use said item on the servers of company X, you aren't allowed to transfer your rights to another person, it most likely will decrease in value but you can not write it off as a loss, or conversely you won't taxed if you got in on the Kickstarter campaign and now it sells for twice the amount you put in. Yet that game has value.

    So again, stop looking at whether or not you put a value on something, if a company sells anything from a skin to put on a weapon to virtual currency to a code that allows you to download and install a game on your computer then that "thing" has value to to the company. Now if you are one of the people who are caught stealing said item, sure you can try to argue in court that the value applied is arbitrary and may not face grand larceny charges (if you stole/cheated a crap ton of virtual coins) but chances are you'll still be punished in some way.
     
  26. Azphira

    Azphira [H]ard|Gawd

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    Servers and connectivity aren't free, initial sales of the game are not enough to pay for servers and internet indefinitely. You buy V Bucks to buy stuff to pay for servers and internet and more stuff. If people exploit v bucks, less people buy v bucks, servers and connectivity and new content go bye bye.

    Don't like it, don't buy it. Tamper with it, get deservedly sued.
     
  27. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX 2[H]4U

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    Money's value is perceived, and that's just how money always works, but V-Bucks is not perceived to have value. The only value V-Bucks has is the value Epic Games gives it. It's not based on GDP or anything other than it costs that much cause we said so. It also makes it really hard to give the situation any seriousness when you buy fake money to buy digital goods which are also essentially fake. Somewhere in an unencrypted text file is your name with a "1" put in for that digital sword you bought. That's it.

    There are pro's and con's to using fake currency in games, and Epic will have to deal with it.

    My point is the items to you buy in games is not something you can literally take. It exists in the digital world that Epic games has. And digital worlds have a very short shelf life, relatively speaking. Assuming Fortnite is successful, it might last 5-10 years.

    It's all Fake as Fuck.
    Again this is not about increasing or decreasing value, just that V-Bucks has no value. Also I advocate for people to be able to sell their digital goods, much like used games or DVD's. Let the free market determine its value.

    Then stop using V-Bucks and use a real currency. Again, the only reason they use V-Bucks is because $10 turns into 1000 V-Bucks. Cause again, big numbers are better right? They're trying to mess with people's heads to make more profit. It's as bad as loot creates. Since these are most likely children, the practice is even worse.
     
  28. trikat

    trikat [H]Lite

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    Epic is overreacting...
    Too bad that gamer might be ruined financially from the suit.
     
  29. BloodyIron

    BloodyIron 2[H]4U

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    VBucks are a service, not a physical product. But does that mean it's unethical or unreasonable to charge for it?

    I would argue no.

    If I'm offering a service to make a video for you, it's something you can't physically hold if it's digital. Does that mean I shouldn't get upset if someone takes my service without paying for it?

    What if a service I provide is something automatic, like a server monitoring service. Where you pay me to provide stats info for your systems. Again, not something you can physically touch, unless you print it out. Should I not be upset when someone uses my service without paying me?

    I think epic has plenty to be upset about here.
     
  30. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

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    On the one hand, I hate cheaters with a fiery passion.

    On the other, microtransactions are bullshit.

    Hmm. Tough call.
     
  31. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX 2[H]4U

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    Eh, this could be ruled at cheating in a game. It's a glitch in the game from the looks of it. They can't blame the player for a buggy piece of code. Now, if this Yash Gosai guy wrote a program and cracked the game, that's another story. But it's just a player who showed people how to get free V-Bucks.

    Most likely nothing will happen as he's in New Zealand and Epic Games is in California. I really doubt that they'll extradite him to California for an in game exploit. Their argument is that he "created" the exploit. More accurately, he discovered it. Just like how Google discovered Meltdown and didn't create it.

     
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  32. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    In all seriousness... how do you sue someone for sharing information. The information sharing is not illegal the action is. This guy didn't create anything. He discovered some shoddy programming in a video game. lol

    They can attempt to go after this guy for whatever he "stole". Not what anyone else did with information he shared. If that was the case... anyone who has ever demonstrated publicly anything that can potentially be used to further a crime is an accomplice. Hollywood look out your responsible for every heist even remotely related to anything you have featured in a flick. lol

    Really though just more proof that EA is run by clowns. The correct course of action here would be to plug the freaking hole in their software, making this guys information useless. Come up with a more secure way to deal with their in game currencies... and seeing as it appears that in game purchases going forward is their main model, offer this dude a reward for finding anything else and reporting it to them first.

    If I where stupid enough to own EA stock I would be demanding that they create a proper secure in game currency system. Tech they can use in all their games.
     
  33. trikat

    trikat [H]Lite

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    I agree 100% this is cheating and all players getting free V-Bucks should be banned. Or punished like what they did with the GTA gamers.
    But a lawsuit? A bit much.
    The guy didn't even create a program to "hack" the game.
     
  34. Verge

    Verge [H]ardness Supreme

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    You steal someone's bitcoin and you can bet you are going to have charges against you.
     
  35. RanceJustice

    RanceJustice [H]ardness Supreme

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    You can ban them, that's fine. However, Epic is basically poking a sleeping giant by suggesting they are losing value or that "V-Bucks" are somehow real money. The last thing we want is for video game currencies to be considered of monetary value; it will harm just about everyone from players to most developers/publishers. Epic needs to knock this shit off right now and deal with it - you have a popular game where a dupe trick equals greater currency; you're not the first! Be happy that your game is doing so well , ban those who use the exploit, and be done with it.
     
  36. Wintyr

    Wintyr n00bie

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    this is youtube were talking about once its posted to the cloud it will always be on the cloud. Do news properly please
     
  37. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX 2[H]4U

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    I agree. There's no hack, no special program, it can even be done on the PS4 it seems. This is just an exploit that is the fault of Epic Games. They're pissed cause this obviously ruined their in game system. They should suck it up, learn to code better, and more importantly make better games. Ones that aren't Free2Play garbage. They already have plans to ban the player, as they should. Beyond that, nothing else needs to be done. More likely they're doing this to scare other people to not use this exploit. Cause why else would they look to sue a kid? But at the same time they're going to effect this person negatively for this, which is just deplorable.
     
  38. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment Stay [H]ard

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    How about you learn to QA your code better and stop releasing shit exploitable code...
     
  39. capt_cope

    capt_cope Gawd

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    What a shit company. I can't imagine how embarrassing it must be to work there - suing a kid (cheating or not) is bad enough, but suing someone who exploited your buggy code?! damn.