Take-Two Interactive, the publishing house behind GTA V, has shut down several modding menus for PC players over the weekend. Force Hax, Lexicon, and Menyoo are the latest sites to stop their operations after OpenIV did the same last week.
The publishers and distributors, who also own Rockstar Games as part of their conglomerate, have cited security concerns as a reason to go after developers who create these tools. Modders, on the other hand, say they just want to improve the game.
GTA V’s PC community has responded negatively to the video game makers’ recent actions. Roughly 40,000 users have flooded the title’s Steam page in protest to leave negative reviews, which in turn has led the game to get a mixed rating on the platform.
Why is Take-Two going after modding tool makers?
In an official statement provided to several media outlets, Take-Two Interactive explained the reasoning behind the crusade they have started against modding tool makers by saying they allowed “harassment of players and interfered with the GTA Online experience for everybody.”
The publishers issued the message in response to the outrage started by the banning of Open IV, the least intrusive and malicious of all the tools out there since it is a single-player kit.
Other recently targeted sites, like Force Hax, do meet those criteria since they enable some illegal actions on the online version of GTA V. Players with that mod menu installed can freeze and kick out other players, span objects randomly, gift money to themselves and even steal it from other players.
It’s all about copyright and fair use
Many of these services were paid, including Force Hax which charged $15 a month to thousands of players. While there might certainly be an economic interest in these drastic measures, it is likely that what truly concerns Take-Two is infringing copyright laws.
Players who try to launch tools like Open IV will see a message from the developers that reads the service has been “discontinued” because modding is “illegal.” While there is some truth to that, GTA V mods have existed for as long as they have because Take-Two themselves have allowed it.
As ARS Technica’s senior editor puts it, “game mods have always existed in a legal gray area.” This area implies Marvel doesn’t outright say it is fair use to use their IP in games to make your character look like Spider-Man, for example, but they don’t complain either and just let it slide.
Take-Two fears some of these services might go too far with the modifications they allow in the game, and that characters of the GTA V franchise themselves make their way into other series like Skyrim, which also has a huge modding community.
Cease-and-desist letters have started going out to all toolkit developers since earlier this month, so players can expect more and more of these services to shut down in the coming days.