Ever thought of starting up your own World of Warcraft server? Given the billions of dollars Blizzard has raked in over the years we don’t blame you, but a recent court ruling suggests it probably isn’t worth the effort . A federal judge has awarded Blizzard over $88 million in damages inflicted by private gaming server “Scapegaming” which has been found guilty of violating the companies EULA along with aspects of the DMCA. Scapegaming allowed users running a modified version of the client to join their third party server, and the owner recorded over $3 million dollars in revenue by selling virtual items.
According to Blizzard “By agreeing to the EULA, you promise not to "host, provide or develop matchmaking services for the Game or intercept, emulate or redirect the communication protocols used by Blizzard in any way, for any purpose, including without limitation unauthorized play over the internet, network play, or as part of content aggregation networks." Essentially this is a lawyers way of saying Blizzard is the one and only provider you are entitled to use.
Given how drastically the penalty outweighs the company’s revenue I doubt Activision/Blizzard will actually get paid, but clearly that’s not the point. The main victory here is the ruling which helps the company establish a precedent that should help deter others from trying this in the future. Since it takes Blizzard almost 10 years to develop and release a new game, I guess it’s important to defend the cash cow that keeps the lights on.