MMORPG Lucent Heart’s operator Gamania has announced its intent to pursue unprecedentedly harsh measures against those who wilfully abused a recent item replication bug on its servers.
As well as terminating their accounts and those of their entire clan, Gamania vows to pursue criminal charges of fraud against the dupers, with guilty offenders possibly facing ten year prison sentences.
The recent duplication bug forced Gamania to take the popular MMORPG’s Japanese servers down for two days whilst it scrambled to patch the issue.
Service has since resumed, but Gamania has vengefully announced its intent to mete out the harshest of retribution to those who abused the bug.
The least of this involves terminating the accounts of all those detected to have duped items, but they have more in store for clans (guilds) too; their official statement runs as follows:
“We shall investigate accounts used to replicate items, as well as those otherwise connected with the bug, and institute permanent suspensions and similar when dealing with them.
Additionally, where we can confirm that clans have intentionally involved themselves with the duplicating of items, all accounts associated with that clan will be subject to permanent suspension.”
This is but the beginning of their vengeance:
“With respect to all those who have violated the Terms of Service of their subscription with us, we are currently pursuing legal consideration of the possibility of pressing criminal charges under section 246, paragraph 2 [of the computer fraud law].
Please be aware that we will be pursuing not only those who directly duplicated items, but also those knowingly took possession of these items.
Those who bought the items at shops will not be pursued.
We will report on the progress of this action at a later date.”
If found guilty of electronic fraud under section 246 – paragraph 2, offenders face a prison sentence of not more than 10 years (presumably significantly less).
They already report suspending 73 accounts for dealing in the items at shops, and “permanently suspending” 12 for actual acts of duplication.
However, if successful this prosecution would represent the first for duping, as previous charges have usually stemmed from gaining unauthorised access through stolen passwords and similar.
Responses from other companies facing duping have thus far involved only bans.
With the financial worth of virtual items now legally recognised in many places as being just as “real” as many other long recognised “virtual assets” (for example, derivatives or other such financial instruments), it seems only a matter of time before the law and the taxman fully catch up to “protect” the financial interests of these companies.
The online response appears to be less than impressed with the legal response, seeing it as overreaction, though few are actually sympathetic to the dupers.
Some can’t help but point out that Gamania is a Taiwanese company which only maintains a token Japanese presence, which may have affected their ability to respond to the bug in a timely fashion.