The events over the past week down in New Orleans are simply tragic. The repercussions will be far reaching, long felt, and immense in scale. Even the Patent Arcade was down for a few days because our ISP is in the French Quarter (not that that compares to the tragedies that hurricane victims have had to endure, it’s just an indication of the far reaching repercussions of Katrina). Thus, in the vein of the Patent Arcade, it’s nice to see the gaming community doing something to help out.
Bungie, developer of Halo and Halo 2, is selling “Fight the Flood” t-shirts, and every cent of profit goes to hurricane relief. On top of that, all profit from the Bungie online store in the month of September, 2005, also goes to hurricane relief. Want to help out, and have a cool t-shirt to show for it? Buy one.
In an elegant display of its interopability, developer Newbie has demonstrated the Xbox 360’s ability to connect to portable media devices such as the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and iPod devices. Read more at Team Xbox.
On July 25, 2005, the Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit affirmed the Western District of Missouri’s dismissal of Frosty Treat’s complaint against Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc. Frosty Treats asserted claims under state and federal law for trademark infringement and dilution, and for unfair competition, based on Son’y depiction of an ice cream truck and clown character in Sony’s Twisted Metal video game series. A complete case summary will be forthcoming, but for now the opinion can be obtained here.
The ‘hot coffee’ mod for Grand Theft Auto resulted in the game’s rating being changed from Mature to Adults Only. Many games not only don’t mind modding, but the game’s developer actually encourages it. There any many legal implications to modding, and who owns the resultant IP. See, for example, Microstar v. Formgen Inc., 154 F.3d 1107 (9th Cir. 1998).
But that’s not the point of this post. I just wanted to point out a Yahoo! article with some interesting musings about modding.
Microsoft Corp. said on Thursday it won exclusive rights to develop and publish multiplayer online games starring Marvel Enterprises Inc.’s super heroes, including Spider-man, the X-men and the Hulk. The deal covers massively multiplayer online (MMO) game titles developed for Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox 360 gaming console and published by the software giant’s game studio.
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has hinted that the company is considering licensing the software underlying the Xbox games console to outside companies, in a bid to expand its market share.
Want to play massively multiplayer online games, but don’t want to spend time building up your character’s stats? A new service, GamePal.com, gives anyone the ability to bypass the countless hours it can take to advance deep into online games like World of Warcraft by renting the use of such characters by the month.
Read more here.
From today’s Washington Post Express:
“GAMERS: In an apparent first, the Kansas City T-Bones and Schaumburg Flyers will let the results of two people’s X-Box [sic] baseball game count for the first two innings of a July 18 game. Then the minor league teams will take the firld in the third.”
A friend of ours forwarded us this link to “A Gamer’s Manifesto.” It’s an interesting read, and I agree with some of it’s “20 things gamers want from the seventh generation of game consoles.” Item 15 includes commentary on “Short-Sighted Business Bull$%!&” and refers to patenting video games.
(Warning: foul-language is used generously throughout the article like an episode of Penn & Teller’s Showtime show. The authors might be taken more seriously if they approached the issue with a little more decorum, as many of their points are valid… although not number 15.)
Ok, so I’ve started a new category, dubbed “Ponderous,” to indicate posts that are neither a Case summary, case Update, or News. Ponderous posts represent interesting legal topics of discussion that we find interesting.
This initial post is an extension of the News item regarding the Chinese gamer who got the suspended death sentence for killing a fellow gamer over a virtual sword in Legend of Mir III, and the announcement by Microsoft that Xbox Live, upon launch of the Xbox 360, will have a marketplace feature. Microsoft has indicated that you will be able to purchase game content via the marketplace, but thus far has remained silent as to whether one gamer can sell directly to another.
In any event, I created this skin for my Audi TT in Forza Motorsport:
Is it obvious I’m a Georgia Tech grad? Think it would fetch anything? I hear there’s a market on eBay, but it doesn’t appear to be thriving for Forza yet.
A chinese gamer who killed a fellow gamer, in real life, over a virtual item from the game has been sentenced to life in prison, with the possibilty of parole in 15 years. The sentence is actually a suspended death sentence under Chinese law.
The story goes like this: Mr. Qui lent Mr. Zhu a Dragon Sabre won in the game Legend of Mir 3. Mr. Zhu subsequently sold the sword for 7,200 Chinese Yan. Mr. Qui subsequently broke into Mr. Zhu’s house and stabbed Mr. Zhu to death.
Admittedly this is a regrettable incident, but it does raise the issue of whether in game property is personal property, or merely data bits stored on someone else’s computer.
Read more here.
As you may recall, the Department of Justice coordinated a raid in early December, 2004, on three Pandora’s Cube stores in the Washington, DC, suburbs where the stores were selling — in plain view — Xbox videogame consoles that had been modified to use pirated software. Well the employees that were arrested as a result of the raid have apparently pled guilty in the ordeal, as reported on the Gamasutra web site:
“A group of retailers in Maryland have pleaded guilty to selling modified Xboxes, called “Super Xboxes” by the group, thereby violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The four retailers were owners and employees of Pandora’s Cube, a shop with two locations in Maryland and one in Virginia.”
Japanese publisher and developer Tecmo has settled its lawsuit against fan website Ninjahacker.net, after more than four months of legal action. The lawsuit began after Tecmo accused the site’s operators of creating or distributing patches for the games Dead or Alive 3 and Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball that allowed the already scantily clad characters to be played in the nude. Among other claims, Tecmo alleged copyright infringement, to which Ninjahacker.net replied that their modification was a fair use.
Previous Gamasutra news articles on this topic: