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Where videogames meet the law – in 140 characters

By on September 29, 2009

Lawyers like to keep things close to their chest, and a recent IBC conference on videogames and law was no exception. We were in a subterranean chamber with no access to Twitter. So here are the key tweets I noted down during the day.

  • Dragon Force (from Guitar Hero III): Song had 55k downloads before GHIII release; 624k downloads 12 months later. GHIII = v strong marketing.


  • The point of user generated content is not for you wade through the shit; it’s for people have fun playing with their own faeces. Its value isn’t in the finished product but the fun the creator has in the process – Morak


  • City of Heroes has Ts&Cs that say that users warrant that the characters they create don’t infringe any IP and indemnify NCSoft against any costs. If they create, for example, a copy of the Incredible Hulk and Marvel sues NCsoft, the end user is liable. Ouch.


  • Interesting debate over whether Sales of Goods Act applies to a virtual good. Not conclusive


  • “Freemium” is a business model, not a market. Every strategy is unique


  • iBeer is very successful game. iPint, a competing product from Coors, was sued for $12.5 million for being too direct a copy. That’s a big claim, and suggests iBeer was making a lot of money


  • Installed base of the current generation of consoles is half what we thought it would be and costs are 2-5x more expensive. Our games are a $20-$50 million investment. #take2


  • In the US, the state of Maine has different rule of privacy protection of minors from the federal rules; a number of states are the same, and many are inconsistent with each other and the federal law. <- Ouch again


  • Take Two paid $30 million to outside law firms in 2007; $25 million in 2008. That’s a lot of lawyers.


  • Take Two now has 17 inhouse lawyers, fighting patent trolls, regulatory issues, litigious music providers and more.

That was the morning session. It appears we have Wi-fi access, so the rest of the day may be tweeted in a more traditional way.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: