Cheating and Video Games

What repercussions on contracts?



By Augustin de la Gorgue de Rosny

SKEMA Business School

Lille, France



This paper explores how cheating in videogames can impact the Terms of Use agreement signed off by the gamer when he plays the videogame. Furthermore, this paper provides some recommendations concerning the way to manage dispute in this kind of contract, and how the video-game company should resolve conflicts with cheaters. Some contract baselines are analyzed, in order to define which of them can bring the most useful tools to manage disputes and conflicts from a video-game company perspective. The Guild of Project Controls Compendium and Reference (CaR) is the one to provide the best practices regarding how to manage disputes and contract violations. Consequently, video-game companies should apply the recommendations  of CaR by putting in place an escalation process to manage disputes and always prioritizing direct negotiation than legal actions.

Key words: Video Games, Contract violation, Terms of Use, Cheating, Copyright Infringement


“No treaty is ever an impediment to a cheat” as Sophocles said. In modern societies, people are required to sign a large number of contracts during their lifetime. They manifest themselves in a multitude of different occasions (subscribe to a phone service, rent a house, insure material and immaterial goods, use a computer software, etc.). In this research paper, we are going to focus particularly in the contracts that bind players to video game publishers.

Paraphrasing Sophocles, we can affirm that a contract is never a sufficient obstacle to prevent cheating. Indeed, it happens that gamers engage in cheating when they play video games. Cheating is characterized by the voluntary attitude of derogating from one or more rules to enjoy any benefits. However, gamers are increasingly required to accept a Terms of Use agreement (TOU) before playing their game. A TOU is a contractual document that aims to regulate the interactions between the provider of a service and its users. This type of contract is common on websites, but also on contemporary video games. Can cheating on video games be considered as a contract violation of TOU from the gamer against the publisher? To answer this question, we are going to consider the term “contract violation”. Cheating practices will also be analyzed, to determine if some of them can be likened to contract violations on the player’s side. In case of proven contract violation, we will see what can be the consequences on the “cheater”. Specific examples will serve as illustrations to support the different points of the analysis. This paper has been designed to answer the following research questions:

–        1) What are the main obligations of the gamer regarding a Terms of Use agreement?

–        2) Can cheating in video games lead to contract violation?

–        3) What can happen to gamers if they commit a contract violation by cheating?


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director, at [email protected]

About the Author

Augustin de Rosny

SKEMA Business School
Lille, France


Augustin de Rosny
is a French 23 years-old Project Management Student, who is from Skema Business School. He studied one year in the United States two years ago, and made a gap year as a Project Manager in a French start-up last academic year. As a student, he chooses the “Project and Program Management & Business Development” master of science to specialize himself in Project Management. He is interested in the video-game industry since he played Age of Empire and Halo when he was young. He is involved since 20124 in Halo.fr, a French structure which provide news, a forum and much more for all Halo French fans, as an administrator. His missions are to manage the moderators, the forum community and projects to improve the forum.

Augustin can be contacted at [email protected]