Thursday, February 12, 2009

I sue, you sue, we all sue. Why? Who cares!

(I sure did pick a good week to use IIDX as my game of the week, didn't I?)

Early last summer, Konami, developer of music games such as Guitar Freaks, Drum Mania, and Beatmania IIDX filed a lawsuit against Viacom's Harmonix, developers of Rock Band, claiming that Rock Band violated two of Konami's controller patents (Hmm... PROBABLY guitar and drum controllers, since, well... What else could it have been?).

Now, yesterday, Harmonix decided that they would sue Konami for a patent infringement. Wait, what? Didn't Konami make the controller first? Yes they did, but according to Viacom's patent, filed Dec. 2, the Rock Band controllers are not ripoffs of Guitar Freaks/DrumMania controllers, but rather improvements on even older music game controllers, like Beatmania. So, Harmonix is borrowing the design from Konami, and Konami is stealing that borrowing from Harmonix, which means that Konami is stealing from an influence by... Konami? No, that is a terrible argument from Harmonix.

I hate to sound like I'm taking sides but Bemani games will always have a special place in my heart. Yes, with the exception of DDR, Konami did a terrible job of pushing their games to the States, but they did do it first. Yes, it's silly that they sue the pants off of everyone and still don't try to make decent US versions of their games, and that's why I'm okay with these other "ripoffs" coming out (I still hate Guitar Hero.), because it's all we Americans have. However, when a company like Harmonix decides to sue the company that basically gave them the idea for their game, that's not cool.

It'll be interesting to see how this turns out, but why can't we all just get along, guys?

Full story available here

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