Wizards of the Coast are suing Cryptozoic: "Hex is a nearly identical game to Magic" | PCGamesN

Fighting the inevitable in Stardock's Sorcerer King

Dark Souls' Games for Windows Live refugees can play on Steam from November

Riot approve two third-party apps for League of Legends: Curse Voice and Razer Comms

Magic 2014 — Duels of the Planeswalkers

Wizards of the Coast are suing Cryptozoic: "Hex is a nearly identical game to Magic"

Hex: Shards of Fate is a really excellent CCG. That, at least, is not under dispute.

Blatant, willful, and malicious. That’s what Wizards of the Coast think of Cryptozoic’s work on the digital card game Hex. They believe the CCG developers have misappropriated enough particulars of Magic: The Gathering to fill several pages of a patent infringement suit.

“In short, Cryptozoic has produced a nearly identical copy of Magic,” wrote the publishers in their claim.

In March, Wizards contacted Cryptozoic to let them know their opinions on Hex - but despite “earnest negotiations”, the two companies reached an “impasse”.

Now, Wizards of the Coast are looking for a “permanent injunction” restricting Cryptozoic from continuing to appropriate their IP, as they see it. What’s more, they want the cash Cryptozoic have so far made via Hex, which they estimate exceeds $500,000.

The Wizards say Hex not only retains the “look and feel” of Magic, but many of its “mechanics, plot, actions and elements” - which in several cases feature the same names.

Wizards of the Coast say they recognise their own scoring system in Hex, “distinctive Magic playing pieces”, and even an “identical” sequence and flow in the way it is played.

The claim goes into granular detail about the similarities between the two games - placing specific cards side-by-side to demonstrate, and quoting fan podcasts in an attempt to show that players were “confused” about the relationship between the two games.

Wizards of the Coast say that Hex’s visual design is “misleading” enough to suggest a “false association” with Magic - and believe that Cryptozoic are “knowingly and intentionally” attempting to “trade off the goodwill that Wizards has developed”.

“Hex is a nearly identical game,” reads the suit. “Cryptozoic both had access to and had copied Magic.”

Our Jules called Hex a truly brilliant computer CCG - the second time it's been called that on this site. That, at least, is not under dispute. Let's hope we don't lose it.

Login or Register
1
+1
-0
toomer34's picture
4

To be fair, reading from the suit it was clear that wizards of the coast do in fact have a legitimate claim, of IP, over the mechanics they dispute were stolen from their game. Having not played Hex or seen videos of it's game play I can't say for sure that it's an exact clone but from what I read they do have an astonishing amount of similarities between the card mechanics as well as gameplay and progression.

So far Wizards have thus made a perfectly reasonable argument that their IP was adopted without a reasonable amount of separation and no compensation. I was willing to give Hex the benefit of the doubt thinking that it was just genre wars but honestly there is a line when it comes to creative IP and their reuse and Hex is definitely in the dangerzone.

1
+1
-0
Gwathdring's picture
107

Having not seen it played or played it you ought not take WotC's word for it. A good legal brief out to be very, very one-sided. That's kinda the point.

1
+1
-0
Gwathdring's picture
107

This worries me. There are so many card games that rely on so many similar mechanics and so many Magic the Gathering players for whom what were once proprietary terms have now become basic gaming parlance (not to mention all the terms Magic uses that are just ... *obvious* and not in any way claimable such as Instant, half of the ability/trait names, and the use of colors to differentiate between various different kinds of card currencies, the word Mana).

That they have the absolute gall to say the *plot* is the same is hilarious. The number of games about spellcasters and summoners dueling is ... staggering.

My main worry is that their claiming proprietary access to some basic answers to the question "what kinds of special abilities can my cards have?" in this sort of deck-based dueling game. In other words, they're essentially claiming the right to deck-based summoner duel card games. That seem ... wrong. As a game designer that bothers me. It would be like Activision and EA getting into a legal fracas over CoD and Battlefield, citing things like weapon unlocks, capture the flag, death match, elements of the gunplay, etc. Or generic FPS #1 accusing generic FPS #2 of having escort missions, horde-defense missions, linear levels, and so forth. It's crass and it's a gross misunderstanding of what Magic The Gathering is. It's ancient and massive as hell and it's also utterly generic--it has done pretty much everything you can do with cards simply by virtue of existing for an eon and a half. By wielding copyright it's trying to claim ownership of an entire sub-genre.

I think Cryptozoic was very, very foolish though in some of their aesthetic and trivial choices. There are some small changes they could have made without altering the play of the game to help protect themselves form this kind of thing (gaining victory points from dealing damage that goes unblocked, for example). So I'm in the odd position of not feeling very sorry for them at all, but not feeling WotC is right either.

If anything Cryptozoic put WotC in a tight spot. While I don't agree this is in bad-faith or that it's similar enough to merit infringement ... WotC has to be worried about the precedent this will set for the future of their game and future potential infringement cases. So WotC isn't necessarily acting in bad-faith EITHER.

Alienware - Game VictoriousNvidia Shield - Titanfall
Fighting the inevitable in Stardock's Sorcerer King

Sorcerer King™

Fighting the inevitable in Stardock's Sorcerer King

Dark Souls' Games for Windows Live refugees can play on Steam from November

Dark Souls' Games for Windows Live refugees can play on Steam from November

Riot approve two third-party apps for League of Legends: Curse Voice and Razer Comms

Riot approve two third-party apps for League of Legends: Curse Voice and Razer Comms

Team Fortress 2 now lets players treat themselves to an early Halloween

Team Fortress 2 now lets players treat themselves to an early Halloween

Uber cancels its Human Resources Kickstarter:

Uber cancels its Human Resources Kickstarter: "We simply don’t have the human resources"

Play Civilization V for free while you pre-load Beyond Earth

Play Civilization V for free while you pre-load Beyond Earth

Paranautical Activity un-launches on Steam after creator threatens to kill Gabe Newell

Paranautical Activity

Paranautical Activity un-launches on Steam after creator threatens to kill Gabe Newell

In The Evil Within, even gods can be decapitated

In The Evil Within, even gods can be decapitated

Far Cry 4 will let you fight yetis, but only if you have the season pass

Far Cry 4 will let you fight yetis, but only if you have the season pass

Prepare for BlizzCon 2014 by joining a Hearthstone or StarCraft II fantasy league

Prepare for BlizzCon 2014 by joining a Hearthstone or StarCraft II fantasy league

Dragon Age: Inquisition - Catching up with Cassandra

Dragon Age: Inquisition - Catching up with Cassandra

The 100 Best Free PC Games

100 best free PC games

The 100 Best Free PC Games

1m Space Engineers copies sold thanks to developer’s use of blood magic

1m Space Engineers copies sold thanks to developer’s use of blood magic

Clockwork Empire update means stew no longer requires eyes to boil

Clockwork Empire update means stew no longer requires eyes to boil

XCOM: Enemy Within Long War mod ramps up the difficulty till you cry

XCOM: Enemy Within Long War mod ramps up the difficulty till you cry

Minecraft has now sold 17 million copies on PC

Minecraft has now sold 17 million copies on PC

How Battlefield Hardline has got better since beta

How Battlefield Hardline has got better since beta

Here's what's coming in EVE Online's Phoebe expansion, and beyond

EVE Online

Here's what's coming in EVE Online's Phoebe expansion, and beyond

Samsung White crowned League of Legends world champions in front of 40,000 in Seoul

Samsung White crowned League of Legends world champions in front of 40,000 in Seoul

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare system requirements are after your hard drive spacey

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare system requirements are after your hard drive spacey

Killing Floor celebrates Halloween with evil, demented killer toys and new maps

Killing Floor celebrates Halloween with evil, demented killer toys and new maps

Londinium's burning in this new Total War: Attila siege battle trailer

Londinium's burning in this new Total War: Attila siege battle trailer

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward expansion announced; coming Spring 2015

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward expansion announced; coming Spring 2015