Capcom Is Now Charging Developers For Day-One DLC
Capcom, ever looking for news ways to garner the ire of gamers and media, has this time turned its attention on developers because not enough people are trying to throw developers into a fit of rage.
That said, it could be the developer that’s at fault here. Let’s assess the facts, shall we?
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Koei Tecmo is well-known for giving us the Ninja Gaiden and Dynasty Warriors series. However, according to a report from Japanese publications Sankei the studio is being sued by Capcom for copyright infringement to the tune of $9.4 million. That’s a lot of copies. A lot of infringed copies. That is what copyright infringement means, right?
The lawsuit charges Koei Tecmo with infringing on Capcom’s 2002 patent with a system that lets players unlock content from previous games. The report also claims Koei Tecmo infringed on a Capcom patent that covers a feature that makes a controller vibrate when enemies are close.
Capcom says that Koei Tecmo’s use of these patents “has greatly contributed to the sales” of its games.
In all, Capcom claims that 50 Koei Tecmo games infringe upon the publisher’s patents. As a result, Capcom is suing for ¥980 million (about $9.43 million) in damages related to licensing fees, which covers about 10 percent of Koei Tecmo’s total profits from the games. The publisher is also hoping to curb the sale of some Koei Tecmo titles, though these were not mentioned outright.
Unsurprisingly it would seem that our initial assessment was right and Capcom really is just being its usual, awful self.
It seems absurd that a company can have a patent on what a controller does if they have not designed and created said controller.
Secondly of all, that “great contribution” likely comes from offering the stuff, which Koei Tecmo is giving away for free, at a price as DLC. Sometimes post-release and too often right there on the disc from day-one.
This is how Capcom operates. They were perhaps a forerunner of the recent pre-order culture whereby chunks of games are lobbed off and distributed to various retailers or locked behind that elusive term, DLC.
There seems to be no doubt that Koei Tecmo did violate Capcom’s patent and legally, Capcom has a case here. But my God, what a horrible, truly despicable patent it is.
It’s essentially ensuring that Capcom can lock bonus content and content from previous games in a series behind the DLC wall which the company loves to cower behind.
Capcom is by no means the victim here. Koei Tecmo tried to do something, foolishly overlooked the legal ramifications and will likely now pay for it dearly.
It’s a sad, sad state of affairs.