Blizzard Wins the Overwatch Copyright Lawsuit in China

Blizzard wins the Overwatch copyright lawsuit in China, surprising everyone in the MMOGames office. China doesn’t exactly have the best history when it comes to copyright lawsuits and western game companies. This time though NetEase was also involved and they are the publishers of Overwatch in China.

Overwatch BCRF Charity Event - Pink Mercy

The lawsuit was against publisher 4399 Network who they originally sued in 2017 over their MOBA Heroes of Warfare. However, the article from Shanghai publication Shine states that the majority of NetEase and Blizzard’s compensation was for Clash of Fighters, which is quite likely the same game. In all 4 million yuan ($569,000) was awarded. 500,000 of that 4 million yuan was for Gunplay Battlefield, a game that has been offline since 2017. In fact, that is why a lesser amount was agreed upon.

Taking a step back to look at the bigger picture for a moment. Blizzard and NetEase’s win doesn’t signal a shift in copyright enforcement in China when foreign creators are involved. What this shows is how important it is to have a local publisher when operating in China. That is most likely why this lawsuit was successful when so many in the past haven’t been.

 

Source: Shine via Games Industry

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Netease Gets a Minority Stake in Behaviour Interactive, the Makers of Dead by Daylight

Netease gets a minority stake in Behaviour Interactive as part of a strategic investment in the company. Behaviour Interactive is the studio behind Dead by Daylight and Warhammer 40k Eternal Crusade and they also happen to be the largest independent video game developer in Canada. Following this investment, for an unnamed amount, Behaviour will continue to operate independently.

“NetEase is pleased to further develop our relationship with Behaviour, an online games pioneer and a leader of the asymmetrical battle arena genre,” said Ethan Wang, Vice President of NetEase, Inc. “We look forward to leveraging Behaviour’s deep passion and expertise to enhance our R&D efforts and deliver even more exciting new products to players worldwide.”

Behaviour Interactive Announces Dead By Daylight

“NetEase’s investment validates the reputation for excellence and efficiency we have built in the online games sector over the last 27 years,” said Rémi Racine, President and Executive Producer of Behaviour Interactive. “At Behaviour, we are continuously looking for opportunities to accelerate growth by investing in R&D for new and innovative games for our players and in the recruitment of exceptional talent. As an industry leader in online games, NetEase brings highly reputable R&D and operational capabilities and experience that we believe will drive sustainable, long-term growth well into the future.”

It will be very interesting to keep an eye on Behaviour Interactive and see what sorts of things come from this new NetEase deal. We will of course be watching everything they do as we have been doing for many years now.

 

Source: Press Release

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NetEase Introducing Mobile Game Curfew in China

According to a report from China, Daily NetEase is introducing a mobile game curfew in China for younger players of their games. The curfew will be in effect for children and teenagers and will prevent them from logging in to select mobile titles. From 9:30 PM to 8:30 AM anyone underage will have access to games restricted in an effort to curb game addiction.

The new system will also restrict how long those under 18 can play each day. For children under 12, they will be allowed to play for one hour each day Monday to Friday and 2 hours on the weekends. 13 to 18-year-olds will be able to play for 2 hours during the week and 3 on weekends.

Knives Out

Players won’t be able to get around this by not registering either. All unregistered users will only be given 2 hours of gametime period. They will also be prevented from making in-app purchases. Parents of gamers will be given the ability to monitor how much time their child plays and their spending habits on a new platform called NetEase Parenting Care.

This will all be rolled out starting this month with 15 of NetEase’s most popular titles including Fantasy Westward Journey, Knives Out, and Onmyoji.

Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this be put in place in China. Tencent started doing something similar in 2017 and even took it a step further by using police databases to get underage players who try to work around the rules. So the age-old idea of just pretending you’re 18 so you can have an adult Neopets account won’t work. Not that anyone in the MMOGames office EVER did that!

It is very likely that we will continue to see this sort of thing happening with mobile game companies that operate in China. The real question is if we will ever see this happen in the West. It seems very unlikely, but only time will tell.

 

Source: ChinaDaily via Gamasutra

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More Details on Diablo Immortal Revealed

This weekend Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal, a mobile Diablo game. If you somehow missed this announcement the biggest news is the fan reaction. Booing the game at the announcement was only the beginning of the trouble. Lost in the drama around the announcement, however, were any real details about the game. Our friend Cinderboy over at MMOCulture managed to dig up a few interviews with Chinese media that have shed some light on the upcoming game.

First, most of the technical parts of the game were done by NetEase, this includes the use of their in-house Messiah game engine. Messiah has been used on games like Knives Out which is currently one of the top mobile games in the world. Messiah supports technologies such as Physically-based Rendering (PBR), Normal mapping, GPU Particle, Real-time lighting and more, drastically lowering the number of game details lost while playing. Meaning the game looks good. Because it is on mobile though, the game’s color palette won’t be as dark as Diablo fans are used to.

At the moment the development team are focusing on improving the quality of the game so they aren’t yet ready to look into other potential features like guilds, PvP, transmorg, and an auction house.

NetEase hasn’t decided yet if Android and iOS players will be on the same server or separate ones.

They’ve also said that the business model is not set in stone yet.

So while the announcement trailer said that the game would be coming soon it doesn’t look like it actually is going to be very soon at all. Following all the backlash that the game got during Blizzcon, it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if more development time was given to the game.

Now that tempers have settled some many fans are pointing out that this seems like a game that is made more for casuals and Eastern audiences. There is a common perception that mobile games are casual, but thanks to advances in technology that isn’t the case at all. Is it possible that Blizzard had the East in mind when they teamed up with NetEase? Absolutely. The audience there is massive and mobile is king. To quote a friend, the whole Diablo Immortal situation feels like a case of mismanaged expectations.

But at least now we know a little more about the game.

 

Source: MMOCulture

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MMO Money: EA Eyes Battle Royale and Crowfall Hits Funding Milestone

We’re back again with another look at the world of MMO business. This week we’ve got more funding milestones, Superdata has released another month’s revenue report, and there’s more lootbox news. Oh, and we can’t forget the Battle Royale games. Battle Royale forever!

 

Crowfall Hits Funding Milestone

Crowfall Hits Funding Milestone

ArtCraft Entertainment has now raised $20 million from a combination of investments, partnerships, and their crowdfunding efforts. The Kickstarter campaign finished with more than $1.7 million donated back in March 2015. Later that same year they had raised $10 million through investments. Now, in the time since then, they’ve doubled their money and raised another $10 million. This was announced in a press release by the company in which they also announced an international distribution agreement that will see Crowfall released in Russia and the CIS.

 

Source: Press Release

 

Netease’s SpatialOS Investment

Netease has invested $50 million in SpatialOS which they’re calling a small equity stake to act as a strategic investment. How anyone can consider 50 million anything small is beyond me. Improbable has said that they’re establishing a presence in China to support game developers while also actively seeking other partners in Asia. In the press release announcing this investment, they also say: “the investment will increase our ability to help game makers in China and beyond to build previously impossible games, by helping game makers to benefit from a neutral, openly available technology platform supporting the next generation of online gaming.”

At the moment, SpatialOS is being used by Worlds Adrift, Mavericks, and Fractured. Last year they also received a half a billion dollar investment from SoftBank. What does this all mean? We’re like to see a whole lot more games made with SpatialOS in the future. Though, it should be noted that earlier this year Chronicles of Elyria dropped SpatialOS. It’s not clear yet if Netease will be using SpatialOS in any of their future games, but it certainly doesn’t seem like it’s outside the realm of possibility.

Netease was also in the news recently for another reason, they’re taking over publishing EVE Online in China starting in October. They’re also responsible for bringing Blizzard games to mainland China.

 

Source: Official Announcement

 

At EA Battle Royale Is On Everyone’s Mind

During EA’s Q1 earnings call executives fielded questions from investors and it seemed that everyone had Battle Royale fever. There were questions about if Battlefield V’s model might resemble Fortnite. EA held firm saying that the game’s Battle Royale mode would be just that, another mode. But there was also a hint at the possibility of EA releasing a comparable game in the future. “We’re interested in experimenting with a free-to-play standalone game that might be in a shooter genre or another genre. But I don’t think that’s how we’re looking at the Battlefield stuff right now.”

EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson also said that the company is open to cross-platform play. “We’re looking at key franchises in terms of how we should deliver cross-platform play in a similar way that Fortnite has, especially some of our titles that have a broad and diverse player base,” he said. “The ability to bring PC to mobile or mobile to console can bring family and friends together, and we think that’s an important part of our future development profile. Expect more from us on that front in the future.”

So, expect more Battle Royale from EA in the future.

 

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

 

Top Grossing Games in June

Superdata released their monthly look at the top grossing games with a look at June. PUBG got a massive boost thanks to the Steam sale. In June the game sold 4.7 million units, but at a reduced price. That being said it was still the second best month the game has ever had. On the list, PUBG jumped from 9th to 3rd for PC.

Pokemon Go also had a fantastic month, they were previously in 7th for mobile games back in April but have now jumped up to 3rd. They owe their success to the warm summer months and to very popular changes to the game which have brought a lot of players back. Including regular community events like the upcoming Eevee event in which Eevee will be a whole lot more common and boosts will last longer.

Much of the rest of the list remains the same, however.

 

Source: Superdata Report

 

Vainglory Made $50 Million Since Launch

Mobile MOBA Vainglory is one of the great successes of the MOBA genre and is widely considered the best mobile MOBA available. So it shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise that they have brought in $50 million since they launched in 2014. This actually makes it the third most successful mobile MOBA behind Arena of Valor and Mobile Legends. 32% of that revenue comes from the United States while Japan is the next highest at about 12%. Almost 64% of all revenue comes from iOS which isn’t really much of a surprise given that it launched as an iOS-only title. While everyone keeps talking about battle royale games it is nice to see former trends can still succeed.

 

Source: Sensor Tower Report

 

Lootboxes

For Dutch players of Dota 2, it is now plainly obvious what is contained inside lootboxes now. They’re following in the footsteps of Path of Exile who have done this previously. In doing so they put the power in the hands of the players, letting them decide if they want to buy it or not. While some people have said that it has taken the thrill out of opening the box, others welcome it as they’re now getting only what they want to pay for. While Valve hasn’t come out and said that this is because of the Dutch Gaming Authority’s ruling earlier this year, it isn’t a stretch at all to assume that it is. Yay progress!

Meanwhile, Rocket League has published a blog post which has the drop rates of crate rarity levels and they promise that any changes they make in the future will also be announced. The rates range from 55% to 1% and also include Painted and Certified Attributes.

 

Source: Rock Paper Shotgun, Rocket League

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