In a cutthroat industry like this one, lawsuits are fast and frequent. We've had two very different suits pop up this week that highlight common industry issues. We also have Sony joining the fight against used game sales and one particularly clueless Nintendo stockholder. Enjoy your Weekly Dish, but keep in mind that this columnist is not liable for any injuries incurred by the reading of the following text.
Sue Me, Sue You
Two very different lawsuits popped up this week in the gaming industry. Former Sony engineer Seijiro Tomita's company is suing Nintendo for patent infringement for the glasses-free 3D technology found in the 3DS. Tomita, an inventor who holds over seventy patents worldwide, holds a patent in both the United States and Japan for a "stereoscopic image picking up and display system based upon optical axes cross-point information." According to the lawsuit, Nintendo never properly licensed this technology from Tomita Technologies, which hopes that the court will find in its favor.
The second lawsuit concerns a leaked preview of Deus Ex: Human Revolution which has been circulating around the shadier parts of the Internet. It appears that the code thieves gained access to a journalist's Steam account in order to download and redistribute the preview code, so publisher Square Enix has filed suit against these currently-unknown torrenters. Valve has the information needed to locate the hardware that was used for the theft, but can't give out account information without a subpoena, which Square Enix is currently pursuing. It looks like it'll be a friendly exchange of information if the court grants the subpoena, in which case Square Enix will be able to sue the defendants for damages in excess of $5,000. Not a huge amount, but this seems like mostly a symbolic gesture warning anybody who aims to steal preview code in the future.
Sony Steps into the Used Games Fight
Other publishers like EA have already started up this kind of measure, but the big guns are really coming out as Sony prepares to charge gamers who buy used for access to online services. The company will be implementing a "PSN Pass" code for some of its titles starting this fall with the release of Resistance 3. Gamers who buy new copies of these games can input their PSN Pass code for full access to online features such as multiplayer matches, but the code will only be useable once.
Like many companies, Sony is hoping to convince customers to buy new copies of their games, as game publishers don't earn any money for used software sales. Other companies charge a fee for used game buyers or game renters to access on-line features, but Sony hasn't yet announced their plan for allowing these customers to gain online access.
Should I Go With Nintendo or Pork Rinds?
It's difficult enough for game companies to deal with the always-opinionated gaming population, but many also have to deal with shareholders of various stripes. At Nintendo's annual shareholder meeting, one particular shareholder garnered attention when he stood up to state that he was concerned about Nintendo's falling stock prices. He went on to say that he'd only bought stock in Nintendo because the name was nice, the company is located in Kyoto, and Nintendo was listed on the market during his birth year. He mentioned that he actually believed that games were a waste of time and proudly stated that he'd never owned a single Nintendo product.
Instead of dismissing the stockholder troll, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata calmly responded that Nintendo's many customers don't believe that gaming is a waste of time, which is why the company is able to operate. He continued by saying that Nintendo hopes to make games even more socially important and bring more people into the gaming fold, including the non-Nintendo-owning stockholder. Points for class, Mr. Iwata. Points for class.
By Becky Cunningham
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*