Riot Games to sue NetEase over Valorant ‘copy’
Popular publisher Riot Games is suing Hyper Front’s mobile game developer NetEase for copying their successful PC title, Valorant. The company has filed lawsuits in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, and Singapore, as revealed by Riot Games attorney Dan Nabel to Polygon.
The lawsuits vary slightly from one country to another depending on their respective copyright laws, but according to Nabel, they were all filed on the basis that Hyper Front is a “copy of material parts of Valorant,” as specified by Riot’s lawyers in the British filing.
Riot Games accuses NetEase of replicating Valorant’s in-game elements in Hyper Front
The American video game publisher claimed that NetEase copied features, characters, weapons, maps and other in-game items from Valorant in Hyper Front, which launched earlier this year for Android and iOS devices. The mobile game is titled “Project M” during its beta phase testing in 2021.
Nabel told Polygon,
“All of our creative choices are reflected in NetEase’s game. We don’t think that changing the color of a character ability or the visual appearance slightly changes the fact that it’s copyright infringement. It’s like that old saying, ‘You can’t put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.'”
Riot Games is going the legal route to force NetEase to shut down Hyper Front. The company also claimed “substantial” damages, but did not specify any figures.
Nabel went on to say,
“We don’t want to rely on one particular market to solve this problem. NetEase is a global publisher, just like us. We want them to know that we take the matter very seriously.”
This is not the first time that NetEase has been sued for copyright infringement. Krafton previously filed a lawsuit against them in US District Court for copying various elements of PUBG in Knives Out and Rules of Survival games.
Since its launch, Hyper Front has generated over 1 million downloads and even hosted a few regional tournaments. The title recently concluded the Elite Cup competition in the Americas region, which had a total prize pool of $50K and was won by Furious Gaming.
Riot Games’ upcoming game Valorant Mobile is currently under development, and it is predicted to revolutionize the mobile gaming industry. The free-to-play shooter is expected to be released in 2023. According to the previously leaked gameplay, the mobile version will share many similarities with the PC version.
Valorant was launched on June 2, 2020 for Microsoft Windows and has since gained immense popularity. With a massive fan base and impressive revenue, the game has hosted several major eSports events with huge prize pools.
With mobile games becoming more advanced by the day, the publisher decided to launch the mobile port of Valorant. The development was officially confirmed by the company for the first time in June 2021, creating a lot of excitement among mobile gamers.