Riot Games is suing publisher NetEase over its 5v5 mobile shooter Hyper Front, which Riot’s attorneys say is a clone of their shooter Valorant. (opens in a new tab) Riot filed lawsuits in the legal systems of several countries, including the UK, Germany, Brazil, and Singapore, seeking to stop NetEase from distributing Hyper Front and seeking damages.
Valorant has its own mobile version in development, although no release date has yet been announced. Rumors said 2024, although no proof of this was provided.
Talk to Polygon (opens in a new tab)an attorney for Riot Games stated that “All of our creative choices are reflected in NetEase’s gameplay” and that “”We don’t believe that changing the color of a character ability or slightly altering the visual appearance changes the fact that This is copyright infringement.”
Riot is no stranger to copyright lawsuits. He has already filed lawsuits over alleged clones, scams and infringements of League of Legends and spin-off Teamfight Tactics. Its parent company Tencent has also won lawsuits in China over copies of League of Legends. In fact, there’s one right now – an American judge just told them to take the case to the Chinese court system. (opens in a new tab)
The comparisons Riot makes in the UK trial documents are plentiful, including screenshots of maps, characters, weapon skins, and other trinkets. There are even in-game weapon stat and performance comparisons. Riot says an initial complaint prompted some changes from NetEase, but didn’t go far enough.
Riot’s attorneys pointed to the global nature of the gaming industry to justify the numerous lawsuits in multiple countries.
Riot Games is owned by Tencent, a slightly larger and much better-known Chinese media company, and social media users were quick to accuse Tencent of hypocrisy. Tencent’s own Ace Force, for example, was accused of copying the aesthetics and gameplay of Overwatch when it launched in 2019, while Tencent’s location-based mobile game Let’s Hunt Monsters been accused of being a Pokemon Go clone.
The legal outcome here is very hazy: don’t count NetEase though. It is a large technology company and has many divisions not only in East Asian countries, but has recently expanded into Europe and America with the acquisition of Detroit: Become Human, developer Quantic Dream .