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Summit - Issue #44

It's less than a month until this year's Summit, and we're almost done with all the preparations. The
Games Industry Law Summit
Summit - Issue #44
By Sergei Klimov • Issue #44 • View online
It’s less than a month until this year’s Summit, and we’re almost done with all the preparations. There’s only one really considerable task left on my list: locking down the final agenda.
A couple of months ago, you probably read what we call a “v0.9” of the program, which since then has been the subject of some debates. Certain topics did not live up to the initial excitement while other topics dropped into our collective lap due to recent events.
As usual, in the next two weeks I’ll be working with all the speakers to confirm, change or reject their presentations based on the very current understanding. Such approach allows us to remain agile and to structure the Summit’s time in the most productive manner: we don’t want to discuss in May 2019 what seemed interesting in October 2018, we’d rather debate the issues that are of the immediate interest.
The downside to this, of course, is another hundred emails or so, that will be exchanged between now and May. So if you’ll see an email from me during the next few days… please give me your best effort!

Legal Challenge 2019 Semifinalists Announced
This year, 16 teams competed for the 4 spots in the semifinals, with participants coming from the following countries:
Belarus, Belgium, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, India, Italy, Poland, Russia, UK, Ukraine & USA.
Each team submitted two memorandums (for Claimant and for Respondent), and each memorandum was judged by three lawyers on our 11-strong judge panel. At each stage, the weakest score was dropped (the “regatta” rule).
This currently represents the most objective grading approach that we ever implemented since we started with the competition: from the composition of the judge panel that has lawyers from 9 different countries, so that the worldview of the panel is international at core:
Brazil, China, Cyprus, France, Germany, Lithuania, Romania, UK & USA;
– to the rule that no judge can score more than 1 memorandum from the same team, so that every team is exposed to professional review by 6 different people throughout the event.
The results are amazing: this is the first year when we have not 1, but 2 ties for a place in the ladder, with teams in the middle of the ladder ranked as close as by 1 point of each other (a real example: 343, 342, 341, 340). At the same time, the difference between the strongest and the weakest teams exceeded 100 points – another record!
Now, these three teams have by now qualified for the semifinals and will attend the oral hearings on May 1 (in alphabetical order):
TEAM COSMIC FINNS
  1. Jesper Rantatulkkila (University of Helsinki)
  2. Sanna Luoma (University of Helsinki)
  3. Ella Schröder (University of Helsinki)
TEAM SKELLIGENT ARGUMENTS
  1. Kireth Kalirai (Oxford University)
  2. Amy Palmer (York University)
TEAM QGD
  1. Dariusz Grzywaczewski (Institute of Legal Studies of Polish Academy of Sciences/University of Warsaw)
  2. Piotr Brzostek (University of Warsaw)
As to the remaining fourth place, we have a tie between the teams of Polish Gamers (PL) and Queen Mary University 1 (UK), which will be resolved within the next few days through having the teams receive an additional (brief) challenge to address.
If you’d like to read up on this year’s case, the brief is here. And if you’re arriving to Vilnius early enough on May 1 to witness the semifinals or finals taking place, you’re very welcome to the courtroom!
Overall, this year’s Challenge raised the quality bar of the submissions. While the lowest score recorded was 55 and the highest 100, the average score across all the submissions at stage I was 82.4 and increased to 85.2 in at stage II.
Seating Plan for Formal Dinner Locked
Something that we’re doing for the first time this year is the Formal Dinner on May 2, both from the point of operations (servicing 31 tables with 190 people at the same time could be something of a challenge) and from the point of how we approached the selection (asking each person to invite one guest, and looking to have people from 6 different countries working at 6 different companies around each table, as the final result).
By now, we have completed the bookings, and you can find yourself (and your friends) listed here. This list will only change when someone cancels and we arrange a replacement, otherwise this is locked for good (though we just may pull up an extra 7th chair to Table 16, right between Valve’s Jan-Peter and Epic’s Canon, for an extra thousand or two – you know my email address!).
Here’s two reminders:
(1) you have received an email from me asking you to confirm your food preference for the main course, and 113 of you have already done so. This is to let the other 67 people know that our default preference is “vegetarian”, so if you’re not a fan of vegetables but have not responded to that email – please do so.
(2) the dinner’s dress code is “formal”, so even if you work at the coolest games company in the world, we kindly ask you to respect the ambience and pack (or buy) a white shirt (just to be clear: “formal” doesn’t mean “black tie”, it just means a shirt or a dress – unless you really want to make a statement).
Communication is Everything
While I was killing my time by sending out hundreds of emails about the dinner arrangements, I though that it’s a pretty cool communication test focused on a very narrow professional group: when 180 people get the same email asking for a simple action, how many of them respond in 24 hours? How many require a couple of reminders? And how many don’t respond at all?
Of course, circumstances differ. Some of the attendees were in a hospital (as one of you said: this is actually the best place to respond to emails, as one has ample time!); some were on holidays; some were traveling extensively. And yet, the responsiveness varied greatly even within the same circumstantial group.
My heroes, and people I hope to learn from, are the lawyers that not only responded quickly, but also thought through the consequences and suggested several alternatives “in case the first choice is no longer available”. This is just so good! You guys were taking responsibility for seeing the issue solved, rather than just reading the question and giving an answer.
On the other hand, we had people who did not read the whole email before responding, or who required as many as 3 reminders that in the end went unanswered (and so I took over their selection process) – which is normal, we all skip emails – except for an interesting correlation that I’ve noticed: the busiest, most important people would respond the fastest and with more precision; while it’s the more junior folks, or people with lesser connection to the industry, whom I had to chase.
My personal takeaway: when someone sends me an email, it’s nearly never just a one-off thing. Maybe it’s someone from Humble sharing an idea for a bundle or maybe it’s someone from Wargaming looking for a contact of another developer – in each of these cases, I’m but one of the several recipients. And I’ll be judged not only by how well I respond in general, but also how by how well I measure on comparison with peers.
Consider, then, a studio looking to engage a law firm in a specific region. They’ll start by sending you an email, often vague or just not very specific. How far will this go, will depend on you being as good with your communication as the other firms – or even better.
Harry Potter Books Burned in Poland
Notes from Poland 🇵🇱
A Catholic group in Poland organised a public burning of books and other objects, including Hindu symbols and Harry Potter and Twilight stories. They then posted photos of the event on Facebook.

Report here: https://t.co/yoCm4oMYjo https://t.co/7YFNwo3x4J
The good news for our industry: you can’t really burn a game that exists as a digital-only release, so unless your studio has branded merchandise, you’re safe here.
Sentenced for Swatting
In the crazy land that is America, someone got 20 years in jail for repeated false calls to the police (“swatting”), one of which has resulted in the death of an innocent person. Details here. It’s somewhat relevant to the games industry because swatting is a part of the FPS scene in the US (in the article they mention that the death happened after a “Call of Duty wager”), though to me this reads like a problem with having an armed-to-the-teeth society plus trigger-happy police rather than an issue that has anything to do with a specific game, or games industry in general. Either way, it’s good that this message is amplified in the US, so that it deters others from following in the same steps.
PUBG's Creator Moves to Amsterdam
Brendan Greene, the man behind PUBG, confirmed that he is now working out of PUBG’s Amsterdam office on a secret games project that has no deadline.
Two things to note: Amsterdam’s gain is London’s loss, as ten years ago quite likely it is London that would have been chosen for PUBG’s European arm; and – if I may ponder – reading Brendan’s comments, it seems that as Fortnite was inspired by PUBG’s success in the battle royale genre, Brendan is now being in turn inspired by Fortnite’s success with fostering creativity of its players, to seek a way to higher player engagement in his next project.
Tim Sweeney on "Metaverse"
Speaking of Fortnite, here is an interview typical of the good side of the boss of Epic Games where he shares inspiring thoughts on the future of both Fortnite and Unreal engine. It’s the sort of talk that made people love and respect Tim before he started making users unhappy with his store experiment.
Metro Exodus & "Stolen" Steam Keys
KOCH/Deep Silver (aka the sister company of THQ Nordic) recently posted this message (bold/underline is mine):
“We have been made aware of illegal stolen keys being sold by an unofficial key reseller. These keys have been obtained illegally from the factory where physical key printing had taken place prior to the announcement of exclusivity with Epic Games, due to the criminal nature of these keys, all unlicensed keys have been deactivated and activation / download of Metro Exodus without the executable file is no longer possible. In addition, the software will be removed from the Steam library of any players using an unauthorised code. The keys being sold on this platform are stolen goods, and are therefore illegal. If you have been affected we strongly recommend you contact the seller who sold you the unlicensed key and demand a refund. 
I think it’s the first time I hear about product keys having a "criminal nature” – one can only imagine, what such a key could do if invited to a Steam Library of a respectable user.
144 messages later, the community suggested to Deep Silver a better version of the same announcement:
“We sent a catalog of valid Steam keys to the factory we chose to produce hard copy versions of Metro: Exodus. After our decision to go exclusive on the Epic Game Store, we delivered replacement Epic Game Store keys and ordered the deletion of all Steam keys. It is clear the factory did not comply with our request and decided to sell them third-party. We will be working with our legal team to determine the prevalence of the issue and if it was it a handful of people or the entire factory at fault. As a result, we are removing all invalid keys from Steam. We understand the impact this will have for those who purchased them. So as a gesture of goodwill, we will send all Steam accounts that have the game removed from their library a 75% coupon code for Epic Game Store. We do apologize for this and understand the consumers are the victims here.”
What seems to really have happened is closer to what this user suggests, rather than to what Deep Silver described in the original statement: some retailers apparently sold the retail edition of Metro Exodus with its Epic Games Store key, while trying to also sell on the side the original Steam key (already deactivated at that time).
What can I say? Physical goods are a pain to control and manage, and communicating properly with your community is indeed a challenging task, event though community managers are normally paid miserable wages.
Towards a Better Artifact
Artifact, Valve’s car crash in slow motion, hasn’t been updated for two months, driving the community mad. A few days ago, Valve’s dev team published a statement in the long-standing tradition of the Communist Parties around the world, as well as that of Facebook (who recently admitted to the lack of security with user passwords by publishing a statement titled “Keeping your passwords safe”).
What the statement contains: Valve is “excited”, this is “an opportunity to improve”, things are “obvious” and there is a prominent mention of a “dialogue” with the community.
Taken against the lack of any actual dialogue (the developers stayed away from the forum, which turned toxic thanks in part to this; and didn’t even offer non-English forums for their non-english users) and the fact that as late as in January the failure of the product was anything but obvious, according to the dev team’s own words on social media, this statement is probably the result of a group-editing effort where one person removed “we’re sorry” and another person added “we’re excited”, and each of them though they’re doing a good thing.
Missing from the statement: any expression of empathy to users who suffered through a few months of the mess, or any expression of gratitude to users who supported the dev team by providing actual feedback (which the dev team then left unanswered).
Oh, NetEase..!
Following FortCraft, the company announced Division – sorry, Disorder (I had to look up the name twice as I was writing this) –
Well, at least they didn’t use orange color for their logo, did they.
Alibaba & Tencent as co-investors?
Jon Russell
Interesting part of the Qutoutiao deal is that it is now one of the few Chinese startups to include Alibaba AND Tencent among its investor base — those two are of course mortal enemies
Jon, who covers the tech scene in Asia, highlights the unlikely cooperation of two rivals. I wonder if we’ll live to see Tencent and Perfect World co-invest into the same games studio – or, say, Tencent and NetEase.
红彤彤 (completely revolutionary red)
Some may say that having so many “red apps” on your phone is a bit too much, but I’ll say this: just look at the beautiful wallpaper and the tranquil green icons of the messaging apps… though perhaps I’m prejudiced here, since the Summit’s own logo is also red :-O
Chinese Social Apps Dominate India
Eric Feng
Looking at the Google Play social app rankings in India, a whopping 8 of the top 13 most popular apps are made by Chinese companies, including the #1 and #2 apps (TikTok and Helo). The Chinese are dominating the India social networking landscape. https://t.co/oCRtoUjfiz
A relevant long-read on the reasons of this focus of Chinese developers on India is here.
Till later!
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Sergei Klimov

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