Publisher NC Soft announced today the results of an ongoing investigation into alleged criminal activity taking place in regards to their online PC game Lineage II. According to today's press release (copied in full below), the investigation has resulted in raids and at least one site closure. More details can be found below:
AUSTIN, Texas, November 20, 2006- FBI Agents working in conjunction with officials from NCsoft's North American business successfully closed down a computer game operation alleged to be reaping profits by providing a fraudulent service to its players. The operation was closed down after multiple raids and interviews were conducted in various cities from California to Virginia.
Federal search warrants were served on owners of L2Extreme who were also questioned during the raid. L2Extreme was providing its users with unauthorized service and code for NCsoft's online computer game, Lineage II. The warrants enabled officials to halt L2Extreme's operations while collecting further evidence in the course of the investigation.
The FBI estimates L2Extreme has up to 50,000 active users on its service. NCsoft estimates that monetary losses and damages from the operation are costing NCsoft millions of dollars per year.
L2Extreme advertised on its website, www.l2extreme.com, that more than half million registered users had subscribed to play. "Operations like this essentially are defrauding ustomers by stealing from companies like NCsoft," said Matt Esber, NCsoft North America general counsel. "In the end those losses impact our customer support, product development, operational areas and ultimately they impact our player communities, most of which are trying to play games legitimately. This group in particular was downloading our version of the Lineage II software from our servers, costing us close to a million dollars in realized bandwidth costs during the period it was operational.
"We've taken this action because we strongly believe in defending the intellectual property rights that we've worked so hard to create. We're extremely pleased that the FBI has worked with us so diligently to bring this particular case to its current state and we want our customers to understand that we will continue to fight similar operations in the future in order to maintain the integrity of all NCsoft games."