NCSoft Invests $4.8 Million in Lezhin Entertainment

April 17, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Online game maker NCsoft has invested an estimated $4.8 million in South Korean web comics firm Lezhin Entertainment, according to GII.

NCsoft said that the ₩5 billion ($4.8 million USD) investment in Lezhin will offer opportunities to leverage its IP in new ways, and that it will also allow Lezhin to leverage its portfolio of intellectual property for creating interactive entertainment.

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Tera Lawsuit Settled

August 10, 2012 -

En Masse Entertainment has settled a lawsuit with NCsoft over its massively multiplayer game Tera. The company best known for Lineage and City of Heroes sued the publisher of the game over claims that former NCsoft employees (who were developing the game under a new studio called Bluehole) had swiped assets from Lineage III and used them in the creation of Tera. Apparently the two companies have come to some sort of amicable agreement.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

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NCsoft Files Lawsuit to Block North American Launch of TERA

January 26, 2012 -

NCsoft has filed a lawsuit against the developer of the upcoming MMO TERA to stop it from launching the United States. The MMO publisher and developer filed a lawsuit at the beginning of this month against developer Bluehole Studio, claiming that it stole software and assets from NCsoft. The Korean studio employs a number of former NCsoft employees who worked on Lineage 3.

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Richard Garriott Documentary Hits Theaters January 2012

November 21, 2011 -

First Run Features announced the U.S. theatrical premiere of the award-winning documentary Man on a Mission: Richard Garriott’s Road to the Stars, a documentary about Richard Garriott’s lifelong quest to become the first son of an astronaut to go into space. Man on a Mission opens January 13, 2012, in theaters and VOD platforms nationwide. Man on a Mission is directed by Mike Woolf and produced by Brady Dial.

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EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

September 3, 2010 -

A judge’s ruling earlier last month that Craig Smallwood’s lawsuit against Lineage II maker NCsoft could continue (a suit in which Smallwood claimed he was addicted to the game), could have an impact on End User Licensing Agreements (EULA).

A lawyer at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy named Steven Roosa took to his blog (thanks Slashdot) to discuss the Smallwood case, using the headline “A Software License Agreement Takes it on the Chin.”

Roosa detailed NCsoft’s attempt to stop the lawsuit by using Section 12 of its User Agreement, which is entitled “Limitation of Liability.” The judge eventually only partially granted NCsoft’s motion to dismiss.

Roosa wrote:

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Law Blog Discusses Lineage II Plaintiff’s Chances of Victory

August 27, 2010 -

A law blog contributor believes that the Hawaii man suing Lineage II creator NCsoft for making the game so addictive has an uphill battle in order prove his case.

Craig Smallwood sued the game maker after reportedly spending 20,000 hours playing Lineage II between 2004 and 2009. He claimed that NCsoft neglected “to warn or instruct or adequately warn or instruct plaintiff and other players of Lineage II of its dangerous and defective characteristics, and of the safe and proper method of using the game.”

In a column on the blog LegalMatch.com, "Rusty Shackleford" asks if such a case demonstrates the need for tort reform, or if the plaintiff and court are “on to something.”

On Smallwood’s chances:

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Man With 20,000 Hours into Lineage II Sues NCsoft

August 20, 2010 -

Craig Smallwood of Hawaii has a lawsuit in the works against the creator of Lineage II, claiming that he became so addicted to the game he became “unable to function independently in usual daily activities such as getting up, getting dressed, bathing or communicating with family and friends.”

In a Wired piece on the suit, Smallwood, in his proceedings, claims to have spent 20,000 hours playing the game between 2004 and 2009. He claimed that developer NCsoft is negligent because it failed “to warn or instruct or adequately warn or instruct plaintiff and other players of Lineage II of its dangerous and defective characteristics, and of the safe and proper method of using the game.”

The suit appears to be moving forward as the presiding judge refused to dismiss some of Smallwood’s claims earlier this month.

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Garriott Verdict Out of this World

July 30, 2010 -

Noted space travel enthusiast and legendary videogame developer Richard Garriott (aka Lord British) can now afford a few more trips into orbit following a $28 million win resulting from a lawsuit brought against former employer NCsoft Corp.

Garriott was issued stock options (valid through May 30, 2011) when NCsoft bought his company Destination Games in 2001. A clause, however, dictated that the options would expire in the event he voluntarily left the company.

A news release from Garriott’s attorney firm Fish & Richardson claims that Garriott took a leave of absence in order to travel aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station. During his post-flight quarantine, however, “Garriott was informed by NCsoft that his time with the company was over.” NCsoft argued that his termination was a voluntary resignation.

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NY Firm Sues MMO Creators

September 23, 2009 -

PalTalk Holdings Inc. of Jericho, New York has filed a patent lawsuit against a slew of massively multiplayer online videogame makers.

Filed on September 14 of this year, the suit targets Sony Computer Entertainment America, Sony Online Entertainment, Sony Corporation of America, Sony Corporation, Activision Blizzard, Inc., NCSoft Corporation, Jagex Limited and Turbine, Inc.

PalTalk alleges that the defendants all use PalTalk technology in an unauthorized and infringing manner and says it has “suffered damages in at least the tens of million of dollars” at the hands of each defendant. The company is seeking a jury trial.

In 2002 PalTalk purchased patented technology from HearMe that allows "efficient handling of communications between players necessary to maintain a consistent game environment for all players,” covering a “number of aspects of online gaming, including communications through a group messaging server.”

The case was filed in Eastern District of Texas Marshall Division, a region, according to Boston.com, known for being “plaintiff-friendly.” The site also notes that a similar lawsuit by PalTalk against Microsoft in 2006, for use of its technology in the Halo series, resulted in the software giant eventually licensing PalTalk’s technology.

GP has the full 16-page complaint in PDF form for your perusal here.

16 comments

Richard Garriott Sues NC Soft Over Millions in Stock Options

May 6, 2009 -

The once-happy business union of Ultima series creator Richard Garriott and Korea-based MMO publisher NCsoft turned vicious at its end, according to documents filed by Garriott with U.S. District Court in Texas.

Kotaku broke the news of the lawsuit yesterday, but GamePolitics has the details - and they're ugly.

Garriott, best known for the Ultima RPG series, alleges that he lost millions when NCsoft manipulated him into cashing out stock options earlier this year after firing him late in 2008. Garriott's dismissal is news in itself, as his departure from the company was presented to the gaming community by NCsoft as voluntary.

From the complaint:

In... November 2008, Chris Chung, President of NCSoft's North American operations, informed Mr. Garriott that NCSoft has decided to "part company." Although Mr. Garriott objected to his dismissal, Mr. Chung insisted that the decision was final - Mr. Garriott had to go.

 

As Mr. Garriott prepared to leave NCSoft, however, Mr. Garriott learned that NCsoft had internally re-characterized his termination by Mr. Chung as a "voluntary" resignation... This mischaracterization had profound and detrimental effects on Mr. Garriott's stock options: if NCsoft terminated Mr. Garriott's employment (which it did) then the options - worth tens of millions of dollars - would remain in effect until 2011; but if Mr. Garriott resigned voluntarily (which he did not), then NCsoft might have terminated those options... within ninety days of his departure...

 

NCsoft forced Mr. Garriott into a Hobson's choice of exercising his options... and forced him to sell into one of the worst equity markets in modern history...

Garriott claims that he not only lost millions by prematurely selling his options, but also incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax liability associated with the unwanted deal.

Garriott's well-publicized turn as a space tourist also comes up in the suit:

Following the lauch of the Tabula Rasa game, Mr. Garriott took a leave of absence... to pursue a different kind of launch... Mr. Garriott used the considerable media coverage surrounding his space-launch to publicize and promote Tabula Rasa for NCsoft. For example, Mr. Garriott send a coded message to the Tabula Rasa player base during his space launch...

 

NCsoft terminated Mr. Garriott's employment while he was still in quarantine from his space flight...

 

Despite Mr. Garriott's repeated objections, NCsoft refused to retract its misstatements regarding the nature of Mr. Garriott's departure and the cancellation of his stock options...

In his lawsuit, Garriott alleges breach of contract, fraud and negligent misrepresentation on the part of NCsoft. He clams to have suffered "more than $27,000,000 in actual damages."

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of Garriott's complaint here.

75 comments

Obama Goes Questing in MMORPG

March 5, 2009 -

Clearly, there are some hardcore Barack Obama fans among the beta testers of NCsoft's upcoming MMORPG Aion: The Tower of Eternity.

Massively brought the video at left to our attention, in which some Aion players have employed the game's robust character creation utility to get the Prez into the action:

NCsoft really didn't have this in mind when creating the game's lore, but some rather inventive beta testers have created something which show off just how good Aion's character creation is. The end result is a player-created video that depicts Obama in ways his publicity people never anticipated, as an Elyos 'kicking ass' and saving trees on the road to ascension as a Daeva... Yes, this may piss off a few people -- namely the POTUS -- but it's all in good fun.

11 comments

 
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Should 'Hatred' have been removed from Steam Greenlight?:

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PHX Corp@Adam802 We'll break out the popcorn in June12/19/2014 - 9:23pm
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante: I'm itching to start it too but I will wait till the patch goes live. >>12/19/2014 - 7:52pm
Adam802Leland Yee and Jackson get trial date: http://sfbay.ca/2014/12/18/leland-yee-keith-jackson-get-trial-date/12/19/2014 - 5:24pm
MaskedPixelanteNevermind. Turns out when they said "the patch is now live", they meant "it's still in beta".12/19/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelanteSo I bought Dark Souls PC, and it's forcing me to log into GFWL. Did I miss something?12/19/2014 - 5:00pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/republicans-may-have-plan-to-save-internet-providers-from-utility-rules/ this is intreasting. congress may put net nutrality in to law to avoid title 2 classification12/19/2014 - 2:45pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/19/7421953/bullshit-cards-against-humanity-donated-250k-sunlight-foundation I have to admit I like the choice o organization. congrats to CAH.12/19/2014 - 1:51pm
E. Zachary KnightIf you are downloading a copy in order to bypass the DRM, then you are legally in the wrong. Ethically, if you bought the game, it doesn't matter where you download it in the future.12/19/2014 - 12:06pm
InfophileEZK: Certainly better that way, though not foolproof. Makes me think though: does it count as piracy if you download a game you already paid for, just not from the place you paid for it at? Ethically, I'd say no, but legally, probably yes.12/19/2014 - 11:20am
ZippyDSMleeAnd I still spent 200$ in the last month on steam/GOG stuff sales get me nearly every time ><12/19/2014 - 10:55am
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante:And this is why I'm a one legged bandit.12/19/2014 - 10:51am
ZippyDSMleeE. Zachary Knight: I buy what I can as long as I can get cracks for it...then again it I could have gotton Lords of the Fallen for 30 with DLC I would have ><12/19/2014 - 10:50am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/12/19/marvel-vs-capcom-origins-leaving-online-storefronts-soon/ Speaking of "last chance to buy", Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is getting delisted from all major storefronts. Behold the wonders of the all digital future.12/19/2014 - 9:59am
MaskedPixelanteSeriously, the so-called "Last Chance" sale was up to 80% off, while this one time only return sale goes for a flat 85% off with a 90% off upgrade if you buy the whole catalogue.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
E. Zachary KnightInfophile, Tha is why I buy only DRM-free games.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
MaskedPixelanteNordic is back on GOG for one weekend only. And at 85% off no less, which is kind of a slap in the face to people who paid more during the "NORDIC IS LEAVING FOREVER BUY NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE" sale, but whatever...12/19/2014 - 9:28am
InfophileRe PHX's link: This is one of the reasons the digital revolution isn't all it's cracked up to be. There's also the flip side where Sony can block access to games you've bought if they ban your account for unrelated reasons. All power is theirs.12/19/2014 - 8:52am
MaskedPixelantehttp://uplay.ubi.com/#!/en-US/events/uplay-15-days You can win FREE GAMES FOR A YEAR! Unfortunately, they're Ubisoft games.12/18/2014 - 6:29pm
Papa MidnightAh, so it was downtime. I've been seeing post appear in my RSS feed, but I was unable to access GamePolitics today across several ISPs.12/18/2014 - 6:06pm
james_fudgeSorry for the downtime today, folks.12/18/2014 - 5:54pm
 

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