Rockstar go after the GTA cheaters to show that crime doesn't pay

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A few weeks ago, something strange happened to me whilst I was playing Grand Theft Auto Online. There I was, wasting some dealers and lifting some ice, as you do – yet when the mission was completed the reward wasn’t a few thousand dollars… but $64 billion.

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I didn’t know what had happened – but hey, free money! So I did the only sensible thing someone would do in that situation and started to spend big. I picked up the second fastest car in the game (an Elergy XF – which handles better than the Adder), gave it a bad-ass spoiler and some bullet-proof tyres… and then bought a few helicopters and planes too.

It turns out that – much to my surprise – I was the recipient of someone else’s ill-gotten gains. GTA has apparently been plagued by cheaters who have been inflating the rewards on offer. And finally Rockstar have had enough of it – announcing today that they’re clamping down on it.

If you try to login to GTA Online today, you’ll probably see a notice about the game being down for “maintenance” whilst they clean-up a city flowing in dirty money.

Encouragingly for innocent bystanders though, Rockstar say that “Anyone who innocently received GTA$ as a result of these exploits but did not engage in cheating to acquire it will not face any further action – the funds will just be removed, and you’ll be able to keep any items you currently own.”

Brilliant! So I get to keep my flash car and decadent lifestyle! This must be how the banking industry felt in 2009!

Bad luck for the actual cheaters though as the developers have threatened to take things medieval – and engage in arbitrary punishments:

“Those who actively engaged in cheating and exploiting the game in this manner will, however, be subject to in-game penalties at our discretion. This may include being placed in isolated cheater pools or banned from GTA Online altogether.”

So it’s a good day for justice in Los Santos.

James O’Malley