Text / Sina Technology Tang Zixiang
Tencent confessed to its former employees because of plagiarism.
Recently, the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court made a second-instance judgment and sentenced the mobile game "Mobile Legends" developer & mdash; — Shanghai Muxi Technology Co., Ltd. legal representative Xu Zhenhua violated the competition restrictions and paid Tencent's liquidated damages of 19.4 million yuan. This is the case with the largest amount of penalty in relevant domestic cases.
It is worth mentioning that Xu Zhenhua worked in Tencent for five years before starting the company. Public information shows that in April 2009, Xu Zhenhua entered Tencent to engage in online game development and operation. He has worked as a producer for Plants vs. Zombie Online and Tribal Warfare, and was also the Operations Manager of Legend of Xuanyuan.
After leaving Tencent in 2014, Xu Zhenhua established a game company and launched mobile games such as "Mobile Legends". Tencent believes that the mobile game is suspected of infringing the copyright of the "Glory of the King" and sued Xu Zhenhua for violating the competition agreement.
At first glance, this case is an ordinary interest dispute, and there are not many bright spots. But when the various elements such as cottage, plagiarism, sea, and dilemma are combined, the status quo of a three-dimensional game industry emerges.
The cottage "Glory of the King" is favored overseas
Regarding "Mobile Legends", domestic players may not know much about it, but in foreign countries it can be called a popular mobile game.
According to third-party data, "Mobile Legends" has scored TOP10 in the 59 best-selling App Stores in the market, and has achieved top three in Southeast Asia in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries. It is also stable in the best-selling TOP50 in Korea.
User asked about the relationship between "Mobile Legends" and Tencent
As a 5V5 MOBA game of the same type as "Glory of the King" and "League of the Heroes", "Mobile Legends" is accused of plagiarism in many aspects.
Game character comparison: on the "Mobile Legends" for "King of the King"
In July 2017, the League of Legends developer (Tencent is its largest shareholder with a shareholding ratio of 92.78%) sued the Shanghai Mobile Technology Company, the developer of Mobile Legends, and provided a large amount of material to prove "Mobile Legends". The fact of copying the League of Legends.
The skill comparison chart provided by the fist: Left is League of Legends
However, the Central District Court of California in the United States rejected the lawsuit of the fist, on the grounds that "Forum non conveniens" (can be understood as the court is not convenient to hear).
Subsequently, Tencent sued Xu Zhenhua, the legal representative of Shanghai Muxi Technology, but this time it was not the infringement of "Mobile Legends", but Xu Zhenhua himself violated the competition agreement.
Game screen contrast: on the "Mobile Legends" for "King of the King"
In the end, the Shanghai court sentenced Xu Zhenhua to pay a liquidated damages of 19.4 million yuan. As for the case in which Tencent sued "Mobile Legends" for infringing the copyright of "Glory of the King", the court has accepted it and will hold a hearing in the near future.
Plagiarism incidents frequently occur in the industry
In fact, in the game industry, plagiarism and infringement cases are not uncommon. Some people in the industry laughed and said “If you haven't been copied yet, you can only say that the product is not enough fire”.
In 2016, Netease, the developer of Fantasy Westward Journey, sued the multi-network “Shenwu” for infringement and won 15 million yuan;
In October 2017, Blizzard, the developer of Watching Pioneer, sued 4399 mobile game "Heroes Shootout" and "Fighting Warfare Frontline" for infringement;
In December 2017, Tencent City and Warriors agent Tencent sued 4399 mobile game "Fighting Hunter" for infringement and won 5 million;
In April 2018, the developer of "Jesus Survival", Blue Hole, sued Netease "Terminator 2" and "Wild Action" for copyright infringement;
In May 2018, the developer of "Jesus Survival" sued the "Fortress Night" infringement;
It can be seen that the more well-known games, the more times they are infringed. For a game, it is easy to obtain trademark rights and copyrights, but it is difficult to protect innovative gameplay.
& ldquo; eat chicken & rdquo; after the game became popular, the market appeared a lot of "eat chicken"
When a gameplay is successful, the competing company will re-architect new world views, task lines, personas, skill animations and other elements based on this gameplay. At this time, except for the similar gameplay, other content is different. It is difficult to define it as "plagiarism".
Then, you can see that after the "Kart Run" fire, there is "QQ Speed"; after the "Audition" fire, there is "QQ Hyun Dance"; "Jesus Survival" after the fire, with "Wild Action" and so on A large number of "eat chicken" games.
However, the games that appeared later were not negatively affected by the similarity of the gameplay. On the contrary, they also seized the market share of the former and even achieved the go-ahead. The "QQ Speed" mobile game, which is still in the forefront of the App Store free game list, is the best example. Its "predecessor" "running kart" has few players, but it is still infinite.
"Running Kart" was once popular
Moreover, even if there is enough evidence to prove that the plagiarism of the manufacturer, in addition to the fine, the impact on the player is minimal.
In 2016, Netease sued Doiyi's "Shenwu" end-game and mobile game infringement of the copyright of "Fantasy Westward Journey" computer version. NetEase believes that "Shenwu" from the entire game structure, product features, game system, martial arts skills, gameplay, characters, etc. In terms of comprehensive plagiarism, "Fantasy Westward Journey."
On the "Fantasy Westward Journey" as "Shenwu"
Xu Wei, founder and CEO of Duoyi Company, is one of the main creations of "Fantasy Westward Journey". This relationship has added a lot of attention to the case. With the support of a large amount of evidence, the court held that the infringement was established, and the judgment paid more than 15 million yuan to NetEase, and stopped the infringement.
However, “stopping infringement” does not mean that the infringing game is to be taken off or taken, but the controversial place is deleted. Therefore, after updating some elements, "Shenwu" is still operating normally, and the player has not lost much.
In fact, for a game, the gameplay is its absolute core. In order to make their products more competitive, game makers are on the one hand "smashing the cottage" to protect the gameplay, on the other hand, they are also recruiting talents for gameplay innovation.
But how easy is it to play with innovation? In this regard, the gap between big manufacturers and small manufacturers is revealed.
The dilemma of small manufacturers
“This year, the revenues of the two giants of Tencent and Netease will account for more than 80% of the total revenue of the whole industry.” In 2018, China Joy, there is a prediction in the game circle.
The annual China Joy is called “game feast”.
There is a kind of ridicule in the industry. In addition to Tencent and Netease, the Chinese game companies are collectively referred to as “others”. In the first half of this year, App Store China's mobile game revenue list Top20 list, Tencent, Netease has a total of 17 games selected, almost "divided" the entire list.
According to relevant sources, it is assumed that the cost of research and development of a product is 10 million yuan two years ago, and now 30 million yuan. The investment of small companies and the investment they receive are limited, and the pressure on the same PK is large.
In addition to the explicit resources such as capital, IP, copyright, and channels, the gap between small and large manufacturers is increasing in some hidden resources.
Many classic IPs have been included in the big picture, the picture shows "Saint Seiya Hand Tour"
NetEase game 2019 campus recruitment announcement shows that in 2019, Netease & ldquo; game designer & quoquo; job plan to recruit 150 people, recruiting institutions for Tsinghua University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Fudan University, Tongji University, Zhejiang University, Hong Kong Universities, overseas colleges … … won the Olympics, ACM, MCM or robot contest awards are points.
Recruitment institutions are all famous schools
It is worth noting that there is no remark after the recruitment colleges, etc., it can be said that in general, NetEase games only recruit from these colleges.
Probably speaking, a better university means better talents, and better talents produce better quality content. Moreover, under normal circumstances, the bigger the platform, the more attractive it is to talents. For small manufacturers, it is difficult to recruit top talents, and at the source of creativity, it has already fallen into disarray.
In the final analysis, commercial competition is competition between people. In the face of better talent reserves and resource reserves of big manufacturers, it is not easy for small manufacturers to break through the dilemma.
Big manufacturer's anxiety
However, small manufacturers have difficulty in breaking through, and big manufacturers have their own anxiety. According to the latest financial report data, Netease has experienced a decline in net profit for three consecutive quarters.
In the second quarter of 2018, Netease's net profit was RMB 2.725 billion (US$ 412 million), a year-on-year decrease of 21.5%;
In the first quarter of 2018, the net profit was RMB 1.337 billion (approximately US$ 213 million), a decrease of 69.2% compared with the same period of last year;
Net profit for the fourth quarter of 2017 was 1.286 billion yuan (US$198 million), down 65.1% from RMB 3.683 billion in the same period last year.
NetEase's quarterly net income statement
Compared with the net profit of more than 4 billion yuan in the high position, NetEase's current net profit of 2.725 billion yuan has indeed dropped a lot. The relative weakness of game products may be one of the reasons for this phenomenon.
In 2016, NetEase launched the “Yin Yang Shi”, “Ghost Story” and other mobile games, which were recognized by the market, and the number of online users and net profit rose linearly. However, the good times are not long. With the success of mobile games such as "Glory of the King", some of Netease's star products have lost players, and the net profit brought by the game is also falling. However, through this quarter's financial report, Netease games have seen a recovery phenomenon, and whether a good product can be launched has a great impact on its performance.
The Japanese style and style of "Yin Yang Shi" are loved by many players.
However, it is not only the NetEase family that has this situation. On August 3, the investment bank Morgan Stanley issued an announcement to remove Tencent from the list of concerns in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong stock markets. Some analysts believe that this move is due to the lack of a powerful product of Tencent’s “Road of the King”. slow.
As of the close of August 9, Tencent's total market capitalization was 3.5 trillion Hong Kong dollars. Compared with the highest point of HK$476.6 in January this year, it has fallen by 22% and the market value has evaporated by HK$1 trillion. And this downtrend has not stopped. UBS released a report saying that Tencent’s game revenue in the second quarter is expected to decline by 9% quarter-to-quarter, and some of the existing major games will lose their share.
The use time of netizens has been eroded by short video, live broadcast, social and other software, and the industry itself has not made a big breakthrough. Now, many game makers are eating old.
Short video applications are constantly evolving
“There are no good works produced in these years.” NetEase executives admitted that the quality of game products is very important when interpreting financial reports. This is directly related to whether the market capacity is rising or falling.
Plagiarism, competition, anxiety, and dilemma are intertwined with various elements to outline the current game market. After the wave of profiteering, the game industry has gradually stabilized and the competition has become more fierce, but the opportunity has not disappeared.
Good products can retain users, and Dalang Taosha sees each skill. This era has never been lacking in the introductory, but want to be "the number one player", but also need to "dummy upgrade".