Earlier this week we reported that a class action lawsuit had been filed against Sega and Gearbox software on the grounds of false advertising for Aliens: Colonial Marines. As we all found out on launch day, Sega released a game that bore little resemblance to the one displayed during numerous trade shows like E3. Animations, lighting and scenes were obviously spruced up for a stage demo before being returned to the ugly mess for the actual game committed to disc. Review embargoes also meant there was no time to warn faithful fans who pre-ordered the game.
Well, both Sega and Gearbox have given statement via IGN. Gearbox seem bullish straight out of the blocks, "Attempting to wring a class action lawsuit out of a demonstration is beyond meritless. We continue to support the game, and will defend the rights of entertainers to share their works-in-progress without fear of frivolous litigation."
While Sega made a similar statement, it was slightly more reserved, "Sega cannot comment on specifics of ongoing litigation, but we are confident that the lawsuit is without merit and we will defend it vigorously."Click here for more and why Bioshock could be next.
Following massive controversy over misleading demo footage, screenshots and marketing, the much-maligned Aliens: Colonial Marines has been targeted by a class action lawsuit on the grounds of false advertising.Click here to read more...
Things have gone from bad to totally FUBAR for Silicon Knights, as the extent of their now-concluded legal dispute with Epic Games continues to come to light. Not only does the studio behind Too Human and Eternal Darkness have to destroy all unsold copies of their Unreal Engine titles, but a judge ruled that they're guilty of willfully copying a huge amount of copyrighted code while disguising it as their own.
As a result, Silicon Knights now have to pay out an extra $4.5m in damages and legal fees, which exceeds the original figure awarded by a Jury earlier this year.Click here to read more...
Oh dear. Just when you thought that things couldn't get any worse for Silicon Knights (who laid off all but five of their employees following allegations of shady business practices and lacklustre games) it looks like their unsuccessful lawsuit against Epic Games has backfired spectacularly. According to a newly-discovered courthouse document, Dyack and crew are legally obliged to destroy all source code and unsold copies of every game they've developed using the Unreal Engine.
Before next month.Click here to read more...
EA believes that their ongoing lawsuit against Zynga over alleged copyright infringment represents the industry taking a stand against copycats once and for all, suggesting that they're one of the few publishers with the clout and resources to succeed.Click here to read more...
Valve have opened a new office in Luxembourg that will "better serve"
their tax bill the European consumer base... but they've also updated their subscriber agreement with new dispute resolution terms. They've made it easier for single claimants to make a dispute - even offering to pay legal fees of less than $10,000 - though a new clause reserves them the right to close your Steam account if you embark on a class action lawsuit.
Luckily, thanks to the arcane yet immutable European Union laws surrounding consumer rights, this almost certainly won't affect us Brits (or will be deemed as an 'unconscionable contract' if pressed in court). Which is probably a shame for Valve, since the recent EU court ruling on digital game resale has left the door open for a major consumer-led shakeup of the way they do business.Click here to read more...
Tech company Uniloc has filed lawsuits against Mojang, Halfbrick and other studios, claiming that their games infringe on a patent for online authentication.
However, Notch plans to defend "Mindcraft" (yes, Uniloc misspelled their own litigation target) to the hilt - calling out the practice as "evil."Click here to read more...
A vicious ongoing legal dispute between Motorola and Microsoft may result in a ban on selling Xbox 360 Slim consoles in the US and Germany, after Microsoft refused a settlement offer that would compel them to concede royalties of 2.25% from every unit sold.Click here to read more...
Today brings us news of two new lawsuits levied against major companies. Apple has been sued for making it too easy for children to rack up enormous bills on the App Store, while Ubisoft has been accused of stealing the idea for the Animus device from author John Beiswenger.
And, depressingly, a Fallout fan site has been threatened with legal action for hosting high-resolution original artwork. We've got all the details below.Click here to read more...
All hell broke loose after Mojang, the indie developer-turned-major player behind Minecraft, revealed their latest title. Scrolls is set to be an exciting new take on the CCG formula, but Bethesda Softworks and parent company Zenimax subsequently attempted to sue them for use of the "scrolls" trademark. Luckily, common sense has prevailed and a judge has granted Markus "Notch" Persson's company an interim injunction that will allow them to keep the name.
"We won the interim injunction! We can keep using the name 'Scrolls.' ZeniMax/Bethesda can still appeal the ruling, but I’m very happy." - Notch, via Twitter
Good. Maybe we can all move past this ridiculous temper tantrum, eh Zenimax? Admittedly we also didn't get to see the Mojang vs Bethesda Quake game either (though Notch is still up for it)... but since Bethesda could field id Software's John Carmack, Tim Willits and Todd Hollenshead, I don't fancy their chances to be quite honest.
The high-profile lawsuit levied by ex-Infinity Ward bosses Jason West and Vince Zampella against Activision has now stepped up a gear with the confirmation of the first court date. The case will begin on Monday, May 7, 2012 - and is likely to be a knock-down, drag-out brawl over allegations of unpaid Modern Warfare 2 royalties. Activision will almost certainly counter by attempting to prove that the duo breached their contracts by leaking confidential informaton to EA and meeting secretly with the rival publisher. Whether they will be able to successfully distance themselves from allegations of "unbridled greed" is another matter entirely.
I can surmise and allege - but sadly not officially print - all sorts of things from the state of play thus far. Naturally we'll keep you posted as we hear more as well as exploring the position of both sides. Be sure to mug up on our comprehensive fact sheet that summed up the pertinent details at the time - and let us know your take on the situation in the comments!
Over the last three years, technology giants Sony and LG Electronics have been embroiled in a fierce legal tussle surrounding the use and licensing of LG's patented Blu-Ray drives. Starting out as a fairly standard dispute, the situation escalated into a blockades and seizures of PS3 consoles earlier this year that could have choked the life out of Sony's UK distribution.
However, it seems that the two titans have finally put aside their differences. An LG rep reportedly told Reuters that "LG and Sony recently agreed to drop patent infringement lawsuits against each other," meaning that the two companies can return to making quality hardware. LG has also signed a "cross-platform deal" that should ensure that the terms of their Blu Ray licensing is now a matter of legal certainty.
Us gamers tend to aggressively rail against any attempts to censor or curtail our medium. We smacked down Jack Thompson. We annhilated Roger Ebert. And wouldn't you know it, Arnold Schwarzenegger soon provided us with a field day when he presented a controversial bill that would "ban violent games" in California.
This bill was an important precedent disguised as a small piece of state legislation, so gamers got hot under the collar on a global scale. We shrieked and wailed. Chests were beaten and garments were rent in twain. But unlike our futile teeth-gnashings, the Entertainment Software Association was ready to take action. They're one of the few interest groups who are always willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved - and after a brutal legal campaign, the bill was thrown out by the Supreme Court earlier this week.
Before we go any further, I need to stress that we absolutely agree with the court's ruling. Schwarzenegger's bill was made for all the wrong reasons; citing ridiculous links between videogames and violence as proof for why mature games shouldn't be sold to kids. It was literally built on a tissue of lies, and thus the ESA were absolutely right to burn it. What's more, the US Constitution (which us Brits don't have, annoyingly) would have been irreparably damaged by the move. After all, American film classications (doled out by the MPAA) aren't actually legally enforced - so why should one entertainment medium be treated differently from the others?
What I don't agree with, however, is how the ESA and even us gamers are treating the basic concept of regulating violent videogame sales to young people. Here's the thing: this bill wasn't technically trying to ban anything. It wasn't demanding that copies of Bulletstorm and Black Ops should be thrown onto massive bonfires while bible-bashing fanatics dance and chant in the background. The legislation was a nasty first step in a right wing agenda, but at its core, the only suggestion was that California should put age ratings on gratuitously violent games and regulate their sale to youngsters.
So, dear reader, my question is simple: would that really be so bad? And, more to the point, aren't Californian citizens aware that other countries legally enforce their age ratings?Click here to let Jon explain or hang himself >>
Sony has announced that their legal battle with celebrity hacker George Hotz has reached a settlement. Both parties have agreed to put their differences aside, and Hotz has agreed to a permanent injunction to avoid any further investigation and litigation. Full details below.Click here to read more...
The lawsuit between Sony and PS3 celebrity hacker Geohot has taken an interesting turn. According to new court documents provided by the hardware giant, George Hotz has fled to South America in order to avoid a court-ordered seizure of his hard drives.
He couldn't look more guilty if he tried.
Update: Apparently he's just taking a holiday that was paid for months in advance, and will soon return refreshed and reinvigorated to take on Sony's suit. Thanks ODB.Click here to read more...
It's been all quiet regarding the Infinity Ward vs Activision lawsuit since the new year thanks to lawyers and PR firms closing ranks, but a new ruling from a Californian Judge has now allowed Activision's countersuit against EA to move forward. According to Acti, EA are guilty of multiple charges of contract interference, and we've got the full details of the sorry situation below.
Either way, Infinity Ward aren't going to be getting their bonuses any time soon. This is an entirely different case - and it's EA who will be answering the charges.Click here to read more...
European courts have now overturned the seizure and blockade of UK PS3s after an earlier ruling in LG's favour forbade the import of Playstation consoles into Europe (pending a royalty hearing). This could have caused a stock shortage if left unchecked, but not only are Sony now free to resume the steady flow of PS3s into Britain, but LG have been fined for the inconvenience!Click here for more details...
The Entertainment Software Association has preemptively attacked a piece of games research that purports to prove a link between gaming and mental health problems in Singapore. The preliminary study conducted by the noted anti-games critic Douglas Gentile has been slammed as biased, incomplete and questionable- before it's even had chance to be officially published.
There simply is no concrete evidence that computer and videogames cause harm. In fact, a wide body of research has shown the many ways games are being used to improve our lives through education, health and business applications.
Throughout our nation's history, those critical of new entertainment forms have sought to blame those creative works for society's ills and some of have sought to use flawed research to support their theories. - Richard Taylor, ESA
It's about time that someone stood up to officially defend our medium from shortsighted and self-serving agendas. We applaud the ESA's decision to get involved at this early stage, and hope that more organisations will aggressively defend our ever-growing and emergent art form. [GI]
In another piece of good news, several MPs including Cabinet Minister Ed Vaisey and Labour's Luciana Berger praised the recent Parliament Games Day in which UK politicians were exposed to the latest games and software. Founder Ian Livingstone was delighted by the turnout and reception; stating that it helped to "dispel some misconceptions about videogames."
In a surprising move, even the notoriously outspoken hater Keith Vaz turned up to watch- and told Eurogamer that he's only ever opposed the sale of violent games to minors rather than our medium as a whole.
I've never been against games. I've been against violent games that are able to fall into the hands of young people who are perhaps not able to understand the implications of what they're doing. -Keith Vaz MP
With gaming driving an increasingly significant proportion of our economy, it's only a matter of time before it becomes a major player in Whitehall. We can't wait!
Hacker George "Geohot" Hotz has legally responded to Sony's lawsuit ahead of the first hearing tomorrow morning. His attorney has stated that Sony is attempting to make an example of homebrew coders regardless of whether or not the case is legal- and has highlighted several possible holes in their allegations.
Since Hotz has never created a PSN account, his attorney alleges that he isn't bound by their terms of service- and that the "It Only Does Everything" marketing campaign invites people to take advantage of the PS3's versatile capabilities. More scandalously, Sony's attempt to prove that Hotz is profiting financially from his efforts appears to be supported only by a $1 donation from Sony themselves. Delicious.
Sony will doubtlessly counter these latest arguments tomorrow, and we'll bring you the latest by the wire. However, considering that Hotz has demonstrated his mastery of the PS3's hardware and firmware, it's a shame that they haven't just gone ahead and hired him into their development team or a first party studio. [Gamespot UK]
We caught wind of SEGA's planned Dreamcast collection a few weeks ago... and as we predicted, it contains the two lacklustre ports of Crazy Taxi and Sonic Adventure that are already available on XBLA and PSN. SEGA Bass Fishing and Space Channel 5: Part 2 will also make an appearance alongside "updated" graphics, achievements and leaderboards.
The Xbox 360 retail version and PC digital download will release on February 25th- though the PS3 version is curiously MIA at the time of writing. Maybe they haven't flogged enough crappy standalone ports yet?
More to the point: where the hell is Jet Set Radio? Oh, that's right. It's coming out as a standalone version first in order to push yet another lacklustre version on us- along with the two other games in the Dreamcast Collection! [Jon, breathe into this paper bag for a while. You'll feel better. -Ed]
Breaking news. EA has just confirmed that a Bulletstorm demo's set to hit Xbox Live on January 25th, followed closely on PSN the next day.
So... yeah. January 25th. Get ready for some brutal slow motion shenanigans!
Legendary hacker GeoHot has been up to his old tricks over this last fortnight, exposing the PS3's all-important root key with a simplistic hack. This was followed by the fail0verflow consortium claiming to have cracked the PS3 wide open... and now, a report from Kotaku suggests that a custom firmware kit is now freely available.
Hacker KaKaRoTo has released a set of tools that are designed to allow PS3 users to alter and reinstall their PS3's firmware. It's still in the early stages and runs with limited functionality, but the software is reportedly an important stepping stone towards "future homebrew installation" that will apparently "not allow piracy". It's compatible with most current firmware versions.
The main use for these new hacks will be to reintroduce the PS3 to its old pal Linux... and with it, a range of homebrew software. We can expect Sony to aggressively address this issue in future software updates- and we'll keep you posted about their response. [KaKaRoTo via Kotaku]
Is this a step in the right direction? Or a dangerous security breach that Sony needs to shut down? Have your say in the comments!
Ex-Infinity Ward creatives West and Zampella are countering Activision's recent attempt to broaden the scope of their countersuit, claiming that their legal fees are much higher than their combined annual salaries. The newly uncovered paperwork also alleges that Activision's countersuit was a calculated move designed to delay the May trial date in order to force them into an early settlement or full withdrawal. With $36 million of damages on the line, however, we can expect the pair to stand their ground.
Lawsuits are an expensive proposition- and we're hoping for a speedy resolution so that everyone can get back to making games rather than making headlines. However, you have to wonder if the pair are a little worried about what we'll discover if the lawsuit pries further into their alleged breach of contract. Naturally we'll keep you updated by the wire. [VG247]
That's pretty much it, actually. NIS has confirmed that Disgaea 4, previously only slated for a Japan release, will be hitting European shores at some point this year. Considering that the JP release is set for February 24th, we can expect at least a couple of months for localisation and manufacturing to get into full swing. A rough September date has been bandied about by a few retailers, but we'll keep our ears to the ground.
The Disgaea series is known for blending cutesy artwork and quirky characters with rock solid tactical strategy, and we can't wait for another one. There's no substitute.
Here we go again. There's nothing more heartbreaking than server culls. Entire multiplayer communities and diehard achievement/trophy hunters are thrown out into the cold... and EA are kicking off the New Year with a death knell for over a dozen titles.
LOTR: The Battle For Middle Earth II will be the first against the wall on January 11th, followed by The Sims Carnival and a swathe of sports titles over the coming months. You can read the full list over at the EA website- so if you're still grinding away for an achievement or two, it's time to get your skates on! [EA]