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Riot Games sues NetEase for copying VALORANT

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American game developer Riot Games has sued Chinese publisher NetEase for copying its household shooter, VALORANT.

In a suit filed in the U.K., Riot listed alleged similarities between VALORANT and NetEases’s Hyper Front. These include characters, weapons, maps and charms. Riot added that the NetEase publisher had only altered the game slightly after being notified of the similarities.

NetEase published Hyper Front this year. In the games, teams comprising five players battle each other in multiple modes. Hyper Front — which has 1 million downloads on Google PlayStore — is a mobile-only game, while VALORANT is still working on its mobile version. Last year, VALORANT amassed 14 million PC players.

In addition to the U.K., Riot has also brought the case to German, Brazilian and Singaporean courts.

“All of our creative choices are mirrored in NetEase’s game,”

Dan Nabel, legal representative for Riot Games

“All of our creative choices are mirrored in NetEase’s game,” Riot legal representative Dan Nabel said. “We don’t think that changing the color of a character ability or slightly modifying the visual appearance changes the fact that it’s copyright infringement.

“It’s like that old saying, ‘You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.’”

Riot had also sued several publishers for releasing copycat games in the past. Earlier this year, Riot sued the Vietnamese studio Imba Network for copying League of Legends. The company accused Imba Network’s I Am Hero: AFK Tactical Teamfight of imitating LoL’s gameplay and character designs.

The company also undergoes a long legal battle against Shanghai Moonton Technology Co. In 2018, Moonton allegedly copied League of Legends. Riot won the case and received a $2.9 million settlement from Moonton.

However, Moonton’s alleged copyright infringement for Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has yet to be settled. Riot brought the case to the U.S. court, but the judge suggested that they solve it in a Chinese court, given that both of their parent companies are located in China.

The judge added that if the Chinese court gave “evidentiary hurdles” to Riot’s claims, the company could bring those specific claims to the U.S. court.

Riot disagreed with the decision, saying that the request did not make sense because the infringement happened in the U.S. Riot also pointed out that the “knock-off” game was not available in China.

Additionally, the company said China had more restrictive discovery regulations, which it claimed could give Moonton an “unfair advantage.” According to the company’s representative, it plans to appeal the court order.

Riot also had a lawsuit brought against it. The company had to pay a $100 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit. Its women employees accused the studio of sexual harassment, discrimination and unequal wages. Riot had to pay $80 million to 2,365 female workers who had been working at the company since November 2014.

VALORANT wins The Game Awards 2022

VALORANT has been named the best esports game in The Game Awards 2022. The game defeated well-known titles like DOTA 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Rocket League. According to the organizer, the award chooses the winner based on its ability to provide a quality experience for players. The indicators include tournaments, content updates and community support.

Last year’s winner was League of Legends. However, VALORANT’s popularity in the esports community has grown thanks to the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT). The event has become one of the biggest global esports events. VALORANT Champions 2022 — which was held from late August to mid-September — amassed a total of five hundred million viewers.