Rainbow Six Siege – Ubisoft Files Lawsuit vs Apple & Google
Cease and desist letters and lawsuits are standard practice for many companies. While some industries are indeed more protective than others, creators of software and other IT-related products are particularly vigilant. But when it comes to video games, Nintendo often sticks out as the most aggressive with its intellectual property. However, on Friday the most unlikely developer filed a lawsuit against two of the largest technology companies in the world. The intellectual property in question? Rainbow Six Siege. Let’s dive in.
A Mobile Knockoff
The video game industry recognizes Ubisoft as one of the more peculiar developers. Known for its odd E3 press conferences, the French developer embraces the abnormal with its quirky games, such as the Just Dance and Far Cry series. But this does not mean that the studio lacks skill or vigilance. Although it crafts unusual games, Ubisoft’s “bread-and-butter” lies in its more traditional Tom Clancy and Assassin’s Creed franchises. On Friday, its most popular game, Rainbow Six Siege, came under attack from two industry giants: Google and Apple.
According to an article in Bloomberg, Ubisoft announced that it had filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles against Apple and Google. The property in question? A Chinese mobile game called Area F2. According to the Ubisoft filing, the Area F2 game copied “virtually every aspect” from Rainbow Six Siege, which includes “the operator selection screen to the final scoring screen as well as everything in between.” So what is the big deal?
In a vast sea of shooters, R6S stands out as one of the most popular. With over 55 million active players, R6S attracts nearly three million players each day on its servers. It does without saying that the game is instrumental to Ubisoft’s bottom-line. After countless attempts to have Google and Apple remove Area F2 from its mobile stores, Ubisoft had no choice but to file a lawsuit. Yet Google and Apple still have not removed the game. So why not? The answer is that both companies are placating to a larger player.
Breaking New Ground
To say that Apple and Google have struggled to gain a foothold in the Chinese market is an understatement. The iOS and Android owners continue to market high-end smartphones in a country that simply is rejecting overpriced devices. 2019 was a particularly challenging year for the iPhone as the Chinese market for the premium device fell dramatically. So how are Apple and Google attempting to sell their devices?
By leveraging the software. Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said it best when he stated, “Games sell hardware, period.” And what better way to leverage a popular game than by partnering with the “Amazon of China” Alibaba.
Alibaba continues to expand into new domestic markets by acquiring smaller companies. In early 2017, it broached the mobile game industry by purchasing Ejoy. In return, the company created Area F2 and modeled the game after Rainbow Six Siege. Just 36 short months later, the game is a smash hit in China and potentially is infringing upon Ubisoft’s intellectual property.
So the biggest question that remains is how will Apple and Google respond. Our guess is that neither company will stop selling Area F2; however, they will likely pay damages or settle out of court. Simply stated: the cost of paying for copyright infringement is a price both companies are willing to pay in order to gain a foothold in the smartphone market.
But we want to know what you think. Do you think Ubisoft will win its case against Google and Apple over Rainbow Six Siege? What do you think about Alibaba creating Area F2 and using many of Ubisoft’s ideas? Let us know in the comments below or the social media links on the right.
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