Tag Archives: IP

Hasbro Talking Merger

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Hasbro is in merger talks with DreamWorks Animation, according to Deadline.   If it happens, the combined company would be run by DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.  Hasbro is the much larger company of the two, however, at least measured by market cap.  Hasbro is worth $7.22 billion, vs. DreamWorks’ $1.91 billion.

Katzenberg has shown a desire to diversify into areas where Hasbro is strong, such as television and consumer products; and for Hasbro, DreamWorks Animation could provide a stronger Hollywood presence and a source of fresh IP for its toys.   

Talks have gotten as far as site visits, according to the report, with Hasbro management and board visiting DreamWorks on separate occasions over the last few weeks.

Valuation may be a problem in completing a deal, as DreamWorks is reportedly seeking a valuation based on its value in January; the company’s stock has been buffeted this year after a weak set of releases including Return of the Guardians, Turbo, and Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

DreamWorks has also been in talks with Softbank and Alibaba about strategic relationships as well, so the Hasbro deal may just be part of DreamWorks’ option-exploring; but if the  goes forward, it would create a new kind of company, with a strong presence in both consumer products, including toys and games (including Wizards of the Coast), and entertainment. 

Cryptozoic’s Response to WotC

30007HexLogo_LG[1]Cryptozoic Entertainment and Hex Entertainment have responded to the lawsuit Wizards of the Coast filed in federal court in May and amended in August, charging that WotC is “Fearing competition in the trading card game industry” and “frantic about the loss of its monopoly position due to the expiration of its patent on Magic: The Gathering two months ago.”

The Wizards of the Coast lawsuit alleged that Hex: Shards of Fate, an online game that raised over $2 million, infringed onMagic: The Gathering.

Cryptozoic ties much of its response to WotC’s expiring patent, arguing that the lawsuit is attempting to extend the patent “by asserting copyright protection over functional concepts.”   
With regard to the patent claim, the response notes that “even if Wizards’ patent were to be held valid,… damages would be much less than the cost of this litigation to Wizards in view of the brief patent term involved,” arguing that WotC is trying to “litigate a smaller competitor out of business, rather than compete fairly in the marketplace.”

Cryptozoic also argues that there are no documented examples of individuals that were confused by the alleged infringement.
 
WotC’s expanded complaint from August adds a cause of action, “Trade Dress Dilution” as a form of unfair competition under the Lanham act, and enumerates a larger number of alleged copyright infringements in a 107-page appendix to the complaint listing Hex cards and copyrighted Wizards of the Coast cards in tandem.

WotC’s amended complaint also displays a remarkable depth of knowledge about the players of Magic Online, noting the user IDs of players playing from an IP address registered to Cryptozoic, the number of times they accessed the site, and the number of trades and tournaments in which they participated.  The complaint argues that that use of the Magic Online site demonstrates that Cryptozoic employees had access to the cards and other features which they are alleged to have infringed.
 
It doesn’t look like this will be resolved any time soon, unless it is by settlement.  According to a discovery schedule signed by both parties, discovery will be completed in November of 2015, with a trial date suggested for “Spring 2016.”

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Rise of the Tomb Raider Isn’t Really An ‘Xbox Exclusive’

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Yesterday, Microsoft dropped the first bomb of Gamescom 2014: that Rise of the Tomb Raiderwill be an Xbox exclusive. Except, wait. It’s not.

Turns out this was yet another a case of shady corporate double-speak, and this is actually atimed exclusive. “Yes, the deal has a duration,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer told Eurogamer. “I didn’t buy it. I don’t own the franchise.”

In other words, when they said yesterday that the next big Tomb Raider game is an Xbox exclusive, what they really meant is that it’ll be out first on Xbox (both 360 and One), and then it’ll come later to other platforms.

Spencer wouldn’t elaborate on how big of a window he paid for. “There are certain things I’m just not going to talk about because it’s a business deal between us and then. Obviously the deal does have a duration. I didn’t buy the IP in perpetuity.”

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BioWare to reveal new IP at Gamescom, trailer hints

Mass Effect and Dragon Age studio BioWare may announce a brand new IP at GamesCom, if a teaser site and trailer launched by EA is any indication.

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The website, You’ve Been Chosen.com, is working intermittently. It states: “The time is near. They are watching. Your power is rising. Cologne, Germany. You’ve Been Chosen.”

Gamescom 2014 will take place in Cologne from August 13-17.

In September 2012, BioWare Edmonton and Montreal general manager Aaryn Flynn confirmed a Mass Effect 3 follow-up, which he said was in development alongside a new IP “built from the bottom-up with all new gaming technology”.

“Both Dragon Age and Mass Effect started as single games but grew into vast universes. But we aren’t stopping there,” he said.

“While Casey [Hudson] continues to oversee the development of our new Mass Effect project, he and his leads are putting together their vision for an all new game set in a fictional universe, built from the bottom-up with all new gaming technology.”

Earlier this year EA filed a trademark for something called Shadow Realms.


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Evolve Earned Tons Of Awards During E3 2014

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It looks like visitors to E3 really enjoyed 2K and Turtle Rock Studios’ upcoming 4v1 shooter, Evolve, as the game managed to rake in a ridiculous amount of awards during the big show held this past June. And among the 50-plus individual honors gathered during the show, it looks like Evolve walked away with the E3 2014 Game Critics Award for “Best of Show,” too. I’m not a betting man, but I’d say it’s pretty safe to assume at this point that this next-gen shooter is going to be kind of big.

That’s appropriate, considering the size of some of the baddies Evolve has to offer. Towering over the audience during this year’s E3 show was a to-scale representation of one of the beasts, looming a good 30-odd feet over everybody’s heads. It helped put the game and its challenges into perspective, as players will join in teams of four humans on a quest to topple a fifth human, but this one will be controlling the ever-evolving monsters.

Headed to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on Oct. 21, Evolve‘s monster-heavy gameplay will be just in time for the Halloween holiday, inviting players to either strategize as a team or get downright devious as a hulking baddie.

“We would like to thank the press around the world for their warm and enthusiastic response to Evolve at E3 2014,” said Turtle Rock Studios’ Chris Ashton. “We are encouraged and humbled to see that critics are realizing what we’ve known for a long time: that Evolve is a special experience unlike anything that we’ve ever played before.”

This past June, Evolve won a ridiculously large number of awards from various magazines, websites, etc. From best multiplayer game to best shooter, it looks like the game is turning more than a few heads. At the top of those accolades are a collection of honors from the E3 2014 Game Critics Awards collection, including the Best of Show nod we mentioned earlier, as well as Best Console Game, Best Action Game and Best Shooter.

Evolve continues to solidify its position as one of the most anticipated games of the year,” said 2K President Christoph Hartmann. “The accolades for Evolve highlight the excitement and desire for new IP on next-gen systems, and we are poised to deliver what we believe will be the defining next-gen experience in 2014.”

That is, of course, assuming that the game’s October launch date doesn’t “evolve” before we get there. It’s not uncommon to see these bigger games get a slight bump back to allow for more polish but, judging by how well the game showed at E3, it doesn’t sound like the team has too much left to bolt down. For additional details and the latest updates, stay tuned to Evolve‘s official website .


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