File this under “weird patents and lawsuits”: Capcom has sued Koei Tecmo for making expansions to video games. The company behind several games with bucket loads of expansions believes that Koei Tecmo has crossed the line in how they have expanded their games, particularly the Warriors franchise.
From the Sankei article (translated):
The lawsuit concerns Capcom’s patent of a system that, when operating a game that is a sequel in a series, makes it possible for those who can fetch save data from a previous game in the series to play as additional characters and in new scenarios. Koei Tecmo’s PlayStation 2 and 3 games in the “Samurai Warriors” and “Dynasty Warriors” series use a similar system, so Capcom claims their patent has been infringed.
Sankei also reports that Capcom is seeking up to 10% of the approximately ¥9.7 billion (roughly $93 million USD) in total sales. It was also reported that Capcom is looking to halt sales of the games in question.
While it didn’t appear in the original Sankei article, a second patent also appears to be causing concern. This other patent concerns a rumble feature that alerts you to nearby enemies. Koei Tecmo has rejected both claims, stating that “(trans.) There is truly no patent infringement.”
If Capcom wins, it’s unclear how this will effect DLC and expansions–past, present and future. The patent was filed back in 2002. It might only effect physical media, since digital wasn’t as big back then. It might also just relate to how the data combines with a save file in a specific way. As for the rumble feature, it’s tough to say either way.
Special thanks to Will Whitehurst for the translation.