The creator of a Grand Theft Auto Online tool that helped players cheat has been ordered to pay $150,000 in damages and another $66,869 in attorney’s fees for disrupting the game’s balance.
Jhonny Perez created Ellusive, a tool that could be used to generate unlimited amounts of in-game cash and other cheats in the popular online game. Players who wanted to use it paid between $10 and $30.
The world of GTA Online, like any other online title, relies on its in-game economy to fuel profits for the publisher and provide an even playing experience for players. By gaming the system, Ellusive disrupted that economy.
Publisher Take-Two Interactive Software quickly filed a copyright claim against Elusive in 2018 and Perez agreed to take it down and said he would donate the proceeds to charity. That should have been the end of the matter.
Perez ignored the request by Take-Two to hand over financial records showing how much he made. That led to the court filing and judgment.
“Take-Two has no way of knowing how much revenue it has lost and will continue to lose as a result of Mr. Perez’s Infringing Program,” Take-Two said in the lawsuit.
GTA Online has been a tremendous profit driver for Take-Two. Grand Theft Auto V, which is required to play the online game, has sold about 100 million copies life to date. The company is hoping to replicate that success with the online component of Red Dead Redemption 2, another title from developer Rockstar Games that sold 17 million copies in its first 8 days.