In June 2021, the police in Xuhui District, Shanghai, cracked down on a case of making and selling cheating programs for miHoYo’s game named Genshin Impact, and arrested three suspects, involving an amount of about 2 million yuan ($296,200). Recently, the court in the district sentenced the three defendants to prison terms ranging from one year and six months to four years.
The court decision holds that between October 2020 and May 2021, the defendant Zhou and the defendant Sun and others deliberated together, and Zhou contacted the defendant Yao to obtain the relevant data of the game Genshin Impact and provided Zhou with the plug-in program for the development and production of the game. After judicial appraisal, from October 2020 to May 2021, the defendant sold more than 40,000 plug-in cards of various types, totaling approximately 2 million yuan.
In recent years, along with the rapid development of the online game industry in China, a shady industry of profit-making by plug-in and illegal private operation services has also developed. Plug-ins disrupt game rules and disrupt players’ ecologies by tampering with game codes while server setups also allegedly violate copyright laws and cause serious harm to game creation teams. Such black and gray industries are prone to the leakage of user information, causing economic and property losses to players.
To address this, in June 2020, the National Copyright Administration, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and two other ministries jointly launched a special operation and made clear the urgent need to crack down on infringing piracy acts such as hacking online games and pirating code or plug-ins.
Game companies are also working closely together to deal with the situation. In June 2021, many game companies in Shanghai joined with judicial authorities and well-known universities to set up an alliance aimed at alerting end users to the dangers of using unofficial and unauthorized gaming sources while jointly building a defense and combat system against illegal acts such as plug-ins.