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Sega Filled With Road Rage

by Steven Rodriguez - December 6, 2003, 1:26 pm PST
Total comments: 20 Source: Reuters

Sega thinks one of the Simpsons games is a bit too much like Crazy Taxi, and is suing.

Simpsons Road Rage is a product of developer Radical Games, and publishers Fox Interactive (now Vivendi) and Electronic Arts. Sega is taking all these parties to court for infringing on a patent that it holds for Crazy Taxi.

Sega says that the year-old Road Rage game was designed to "deliberately copy and imitate" Crazy Taxi, using reviews from numerous publications as sources. The suit wants a halt to sales of the game, recalls of copies currently at retail, and lost profits in the form of damages repaid to Sega.

EA or Vivendi had not seen the lawsuit, and were unavailable for comment.

Talkback

KnoxxvilleDecember 06, 2003

Typical. Of course they are going to sue this late in the game. Why? It makes perfect business sense! Why not let a title sell a million or so copies and THEN sue for damages? What a nice little windfall Sega is about to have fall right into their laps....good move!

Checkmate!

jasonditzDecember 06, 2003

Did Road Rage even sell 1,000 copies? That was a horrible game...

- NintendoFan -December 06, 2003

I heard the game sold 1,000,000 copies, although I could be wrong. This looks like an open and shut case for Sega.

jasonditzDecember 06, 2003

I dunno, companies have a long history of making games with similar play-styles. Is Sega honestly telling us Sonic R wasn't a flat out clone of Mario Kart?

I know Sega's having money troubles but this seems pretty pathetic to me. Crazy Taxi isn't even on the market anymore, its not like a crappy Simpsons ripoff title was going to hurt sales.

Seems like the once great Sega is fast becoming the Acclaim of Japan. Marginal titles (read: Dreamcast ports) and lawsuits are not the way to run a successful company.

Take notes, runners of Nintendo, this is what NOT to do.

I just wish Microsoft would hurry up and offer them a giant bag of money to put them out of their misery.

Ocarina BlueDecember 06, 2003

Sega's been having money troubles for the past 7 or so years, if they were going to pull an Acclaim, they would have done it by now. A few weeks ago on the front page it said Sega had it's first fiscal year in which they made profit, give them a little time and they'll be fine.

Bill AurionDecember 06, 2003

Awwww Sega...Don't do this to me...You're just making yourselves look like the bad guys... :'(

DrydenDecember 06, 2003

It'll be interesting to see if this holds up. I hope that this sets more of a precedent for originality in games.

Imagine - a Simpsons game with original gameplay! Something not seen since the says of the Simpson Arcade game - still one of the best arcade side-scrollers to date!

DjunknownDecember 06, 2003

Just when you think Sega was getting their act together, they pull this...

What is Sega of America thinking? Are they even thinking?

jasonditzDecember 06, 2003

Quote

Originally posted by: Dryden
It'll be interesting to see if this holds up. I hope that this sets more of a precedent for originality in games.

Imagine - a Simpsons game with original gameplay! Something not seen since the says of the Simpson Arcade game - still one of the best arcade side-scrollers to date!


Simpsons Arcade was a flat out ripoff of the Ninja Turtles arcade game.

D-Mac DoubleDecember 06, 2003

Could it be because both were made by Konami?

KDR_11kDecember 06, 2003

There is a difference between a standard rip-off like we see any day and a case of patent infringement. Yes, SEGA has patented Crazy Taxi's gameplay. If you look at the business software industry, suing over trivial patents is standard. Why can one patent things like Crazy Taxi or One-Click? Well, since the US government allowed it! Microsoft are the main supporters of the introduction of software patents in the EU, now guess who made the US introduce them? Hint: Starts with B and ends on SA.

SEGA can sue Rockstar for patent infringement as well. Maybe they are just too afraid that Rockstar pays off the judge to invalidate SEGA's patent.

RobageejamminDecember 08, 2003

eh

thecubedcanuckDecember 08, 2003

SEGA IMO has become one giant POS company. They are lazy as developers, make brutal games and now are trying to make money from the lowest form of American culture, the freakin lawsuit.

Man I wish SEGA would go the way of its consoles.

Ian SaneDecember 08, 2003

How detailed does a software patent go? Sega was the first company to make a 3D fighting game but, although similar, Tekken plays quite differently. Could Sega sue Namco in that situation? Could Square Enix sue everybody who makes RPGs because they're all ripping off Dragon Warrior? I can see how it should be illegal to make a blatant copy of a game that plays EXACTLY the same and has the same controls but the whole concept kind of scares me if the definition of a software patent is too broad.

If there is a game though that I could consider an infringment of patent Simpsons Road Rage is it. That game is essentially exactly the same as Crazy Taxi. Maybe I should nab a copy in case this lawsuit results in it being pulled off the shelf. That would make for a rare game.

I remember years ago Data East got into sh!t because their game Fighter's History was too similar to Street Fighter II. Anyone know what the courts decided in that case?

Bill AurionDecember 08, 2003

The lawsuit was thrown out, because "videogame cloning is protected by law." face-icon-small-tongue.gif

Neo_JamesDecember 08, 2003

Sega + Crappy games as of late + Losing profits + Someone having an idea about trying to make profit off of crappy game (Crazy Taxi) from another crappy game (Road Rage) = More money than Sega deserves

Sega has been really sucking ass lately, they have been slipping since the post Dreamcast days and they have been in major money troubles since then. I mean, Road Rage came out two years ago, WTF took them so long to sue EA?? That's sad Sega, really sad. You can't steal on idea of a game style unless they directly copy it, maybe if they called it Simpons Crazy Taxi, I see something in that, but come on, really!!

Why don't you get off your ass and start making GOOD games again and maybe you won't have to sue everyone to get some green backs ok??

Ian SaneDecember 08, 2003

Sega HAS made some good games recently... for the Xbox... where they were ignored.

I do agree that if Sega wasn't in a "make stupid choices like supporting the N-Gage" groove they wouldn't have bothered to sue. It's a shame to see them in the situation they are.

ThePermDecember 08, 2003

lol...i played taxi games that made you do carazy missions on the pc way before crazy taxi was out even i nthe arcades.

Fri-val-ous

UniversalJuanDecember 08, 2003

No no no! We need to support this! It's all falling into place. You see there was Console Wars Episode I: The Annoying MS and well if SEGA wins this case? Enter Console Wars Episode II: (Ironically enough) The Clone Wars ;x And quite frankly Nintendo could win out completely! I mean hey...who hasn't copied them? ;x Yes....I see it now....Episode 4: The N5 Hope *Stops now before he gets carried away*

KDR_11kDecember 09, 2003

People here haven't noticed the point: In the US it is legal to obtain a patent on an algorythm, business method, or, well, a gameplay mechanism. Sega applied for a patent after concieving Crazy Taxi and the USPTO granted it to them. So Sega was put into a position that allowed them to sue any imitator for 17 years counting from the issuing of the patent.

Why did Sega wait so long with suing? Well, why did SCO wait so long to sue IBM over Linux?
I have no idea when exactly the patent was granted (a search in the USPTO database is like searching google, however I now know Sega patented cooling systems for game systems...) so that might play a role as well.

Ian: You better BE scared, software and logic patents allow for a LOT of abuse. The EFF and FSF will provide you with further information.

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