Bungie lawyer says suing cheaters and harassers is "good business," actually

Destiny 2
(Image credit: Bungie)

As Bungie pursues legal action against a player accused of breaking Destiny 2 rules and threatening to "burn down" the studio, its top lawyer says removing bad actors from the game's community is "not only the right thing to do, it is also good business." 

Speaking with Axios, general counsel Don McGowan discussed Bungie's unusually litigious approach to harassment and abuse in its community – and by unusually litigious, I mean that few, if any game studios pursue this kind of behavior in court so aggressively. 

"We have seen historically that bad actors will often be tolerated because the people with the skills and power to remove them do not focus their efforts there," McGowan says. "To put it simply, we disagree. In our view, removing harassment and abuse from our community is not only the right thing to do, it is also good business." 

"Tolerating bad actors chases away a lot of people who would like to enjoy our products," he added. 

McGowan's comments to Axios also touch on the recent wave of harassment that has driven Bungie to reduce communication with players. Community manager dmg outlined the situation in a recent Reddit post, affirming that "there have been real threats towards our people and our studio" and "we're taking them seriously." 

"I will be very clear in saying that I appreciate the studio in the amount that it's helped me personally after some serious harassment towards me and my family," dmg said. "I'm taking time off in part because of this. Just because you can't see it directly in a given tweet or forum reply doesn't mean that it didn't happen." 

This followed a separate wave of harassment targeting Destiny 2 sandbox lead Kevin Yanes, who pulled back from Twitter discussions after a mob of players attacked him because their favorite Titan Exotic is never coming back, and those are just two of the more visible examples.  

Defending Bungie staff, McGowan stressed that "they are doing a job and as their lawyer, my team and I have a set of skills that make it possible for us to defend them as well as the integrity of our players' experience."

This stance tallies with the tone of Bungie's previous lawsuits, including a freshly settled $13.5 million suit targeting cheat makers and a more recent $7.6 million suit sparked by fraudulent DMCA takedowns. In the latter, Bungie noted that "serious consequences await anyone else foolish enough to volunteer as a Defendant by targeting Bungie’s community for attack." 

PlayStation has officially completed its purchase of Bungie, but Destiny 2 will remain multiplatform. 

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.