The 6 most frivolous videogame lawsuits

Who sued whom?

Though the videogame industry is still young, it is no stranger to legal battles. As new technologies develop, new lawsuits arise, some of which raise an eyebrow to why a court would hear The Case in the first place. From intellectual patents to advertising placement, these 6 lawsuits are some of the most ridiculous to rise from the world of gaming.

vibrate

The Case:

Back in 2002, both Sony and Microsoft were sued for the use of vibration functions in their gaming controllers. Microsoft settled by purchasing a 10% investment in Immersion, while Sony pressed on and fought the suit.

Why it's ridiculous:

The lawsuit centered on the idea of an "tactile feedback man-machine interface device". Immersion holds a patent for a technology "that makes the player feel as if they are touching an object in the game." If there has ever been a Sony game that made a player feel like they are touching anything other than a controller, I haven't played it yet.

What will happen if they win:

Immersion did win the lawsuit. Sony must pay Immersion $97.2 million, in addition to royalties. The two companies have subsequently entered into a business agreement together. Sony fans can rejoice, for the foreseeable future they will continue to feel in game objects though vibration to their heats content.

chicago

The Case:

Take-Two Interactive sued Chicago Transit Authority, and the ad company Titan Outdoor, for removing advertisements for their game Grand Theft Auto IV. The removal of the ads happened after a Fox News report questioned the CTA for allowing the ads to run after a city-wide increase in crime, and the governor's public criticism of GTA. Take-Two Interactive cited a violation of both constitutional and contractual rights.

Why it's ridiculous:

Yes, CTA broke their contract with Take-Two Interactive by pulling the GTA IV ads. The fact is that the ads were pulled after a local news report questioned why CTA allowed advertising for a M-rated game when violent crimes in Chicago were on the rise. The unspoken implication is that the increase in crime was related to, not only the game, but the advertisements. If indeed there was a substantial increase in carjackings and other crimes in Chicago because of the videogame, then a city-wide increase of people filling their bellies with cheeseburgers, and wearing designer jeans must have happened at the same time. Who knew advertising was so powerful?

What will happen if they win:

If Take-Two Interactive wins the lawsuit then, aside from financial compensation for the breach in contract with CTA, there will have to be some sort of public recognition of how the press influences the climate of gaming.

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Todd Melick

GamePro (online)
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