Ubisoft sues Apple over Alibaba 'Rainbow Six' game clone in App Store

Posted:
in iOS
Apple and Google have become the targets of a lawsuit from game publisher Ubisoft, for allowing the sale of an alleged clone of a "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six" game in the App Store produced by a subsidiary of Alibaba.

Area F2 (Ejoy/Alibaba)
Area F2 (Ejoy/Alibaba)


In a lawsuit filed on Friday in a Los Angeles federal court, Ubisoft claims the game "Area F2" is a "near carbon copy" of its own game, "Rainbow Six: Siege," one that can't "seriously be disputed" by observers. The clone game makers are said to have kept it as close to the original as possible, with minimal efforts made to make it as legally different from Ubisoft's game as possible.

"Virtually every aspect of AF2 is copied from R6S," Ubisoft alleges in the lawsuit, as reported by Bloomberg, "from the operator selection screen to the final scoring screen, and everything in between."

The Rainbow Six series is a close-quarters battle game, a first-person shooter where teams of players must either storm a location and wipe out the enemy, or defend themselves from another team's storming attempt. Area F2 takes advantage of the lack of a mobile version of Ubisoft's PC and console game, offering similar gameplay but on a smaller screen.

"Ubisoft's competitors are constantly looking for ways to piggyback on R6S's popularity and to capture the attention, and money, of R6S players," the suit continues.

"Rainbow Six: Siege" is a major game for Ubisoft, with 55 million registered players globally and more than 3 million daily players. The game is also played in esports competitions, with professional teams taking each other on in tournaments for prizes stretching to millions of dollars.

AF2 is produced by Qookka Games, a trading name of developer Ejoy which was acquired by Alibaba in 2017. An unusual facet to the lawsuit is the target, as instead of going after Ejoy or Alibaba, Ubisoft is instead going after Apple and Google.

By attacking Apple and Google in court, it seems that Ubisoft is attempting to prevent the sale of the clone in their digital storefronts. AF2 became available to download from the App Store in April, following an extensive promotion campaign by Ejoy in late 2019.

Neither Alibaba, Google, nor Apple have commented on the lawsuit so far.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Clever that they're trying to kill the distribution, which will work for Apple, but won't stop it being available on Android.

    The problem I have with this is that Ubisoft haven't got a mobile version, so I'm not sure they've been ripped off.

    On the other hand, a photograph of a painting is still a copy, if you're selling it.

    Tricky.

    williamlondonlongpathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 25
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 731member
    Why dont you go w Alibaba
    longpath
  • Reply 3 of 25
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,472member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Why dont you go w Alibaba
    Deep pockets theory. Sue the one’s with the most money.
    williamlondonjeffharrisBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 25
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 731member
    lkrupp said:
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Why dont you go w Alibaba
    Deep pockets theory. Sue the one’s with the most money.
    Alibaba have deep pockets too....hehehe they are traded in Wall Street 
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 25
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,609member
    lkrupp said:
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Why dont you go w Alibaba
    Deep pockets theory. Sue the one’s with the most money.
    Alibaba is the rough equivalent of Amazon in China. They're big, to the tune of $544B market cap. There aren't many bigger than Alibaba. They can dance with Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook.

    Ubisoft is probably suing Apple and Google as distributors; due to copyright protection in the USA, Ubisoft has a strong case. Ubisoft could also go after Alibaba as the content producer's (copyright violator) parent. The copyright protection in China is not the same as here in the USA, would be a steeper hill litigation-wise for Ubisoft to climb.

    Ubisoft is not going after Apple and Google just because they have lots of money. They are also doing it because of US copyright protection laws. The market cap difference between Apple, Alphabet and Alibaba isn't a discerning factor in Ubisoft's choice here.
    edited May 2020 CloudTalkinsvanstrombeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 25
    tobiantobian Posts: 116member
    This is insane. All they should be able to do, is to ask Apple to pull it off, and sue the authors. Otherwise, supervision like this would be really huge overhead for distribution, less for developers.
    As somebody said here earlier..  you Americans have a few strange things going on in your country.
    dewmerandominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 25
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,755member
    tobian said:
    Otherwise, supervision like this would be really huge overhead for distribution, less for developers.
    So?  Why shouldn't distribution come with a requirement to ensure the things you distribute are legal?  Distribuyting stolen physical goods is illegal, why not copyrighted?  Just because it might be hard doesn't mean it's wrong.
    CloudTalkin
  • Reply 8 of 25
    CloudTalkinCloudTalkin Posts: 900member
    lkrupp said:
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Why dont you go w Alibaba
    Deep pockets theory. Sue the one’s with the most money.
    Deep pocket theory doesn't work here.  Everyone involved in this situation has money. They're suing to block distribution of what they claim is stolen IP, not to get a payday.  They realize going after Alibaba in China is probably a waste of time.  They can try to stop the distribution of the alleged stolen IP in markets outside of China by preventing the two largest channels from selling the game.    
    svanstrombeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 9 of 25
    FatmanFatman Posts: 513member
    Chinese steal, that’s what they do. A Communist valueless nation. They stole from my company, the people are friendly they bring us gifts when they visit our office and then stab you in the back when they leave. 
    lkruppBeatssvanstromelijahgrazorpitbeeble42watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 25
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,116member
    I can understand trying to stop distribution, but why sue? Did Ubisoft ask nicely first?
    edited May 2020 randominternetpersontobianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 25
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,609member
    entropys said:
    I can understand trying to stop distribution, but why sue? Did Ubisoft ask nicely first?
    I'm guessing Ubisoft did ask first.

    Filing lawsuits costs money. Lawyers and time aren't free. A lawyer from Ubisoft likely sent a boilerplate cease-and-desist letter at some point as well.
    edited May 2020 CloudTalkin
  • Reply 12 of 25
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,636member
    Wait so it a mobile game of a similar mechanism to there desktop console game.
    both are using everyday items and not at creating any IP in characters tools weapons.

    how is it clone?

    They don’t trade on the name just the momentum and an unserviced market. 
    Aren’t there 100s of games that cover the same scope?
  • Reply 13 of 25
    entropys said:
    I can understand trying to stop distribution, but why sue? Did Ubisoft ask nicely first?
    AI didn't report it but the source article from Bloomber says they did ask first:
    "Ubisoft said it has notified Apple and Google that Area F2 is infringing its copyrights but the companies have refused to remove the game from the Google Play and Apple App stores."
    svanstromavon b7muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 25
    mattinoz said:
    Wait so it a mobile game of a similar mechanism to there desktop console game.
    both are using everyday items and not at creating any IP in characters tools weapons.

    how is it clone?

    They don’t trade on the name just the momentum and an unserviced market. 
    Aren’t there 100s of games that cover the same scope?
    Did you read the article?

    Ubisoft claims the game "Area F2" is a "near carbon copy" of its own game, "Rainbow Six: Siege," one that can't "seriously be disputed" by observers. The clone game makers are said to have kept it as close to the original as possible, with minimal efforts made to make it as legally different from Ubisoft's game as possible. 

    "Virtually every aspect of AF2 is copied from R6S," Ubisoft alleges in the lawsuit, as 
    reported by Bloomberg, "from the operator selection screen to the final scoring screen, and everything in between."

    Presumably it will come down to whether they literally stole digital assets.  As far as I know, you can't copyright level maps and the like.

    It makes sense to let a court decide.  Apple could get sued by the other company if they pull a game that isn't considered an illegal copy.  The odd part is, why is Apple put in the position of defending this game.  That should be the responsibility of the other publisher.  

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 25
    leighrleighr Posts: 219member
    I think we all know that there’s no chance of getting a copyright suit out of a Chinese company. Copyright simply doesn’t exist in China, and it’s how they make their money. Sadly though, it is both Ubisoft and Apple/Google who will foot the bill for China’s illegal activities. 
    svanstromrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 25
    tobiantobian Posts: 116member
    crowley said:
    So?  Why shouldn't distribution come with a requirement to ensure the things you distribute are legal?  Distribuyting stolen physical goods is illegal, why not copyrighted?  Just because it might be hard doesn't mean it's wrong.
    I'm sure the AppStore developer terms & conditions covers this well enough. I just don't think Apple should be required to employ legions of reviewers, comparing thousands of titles each to each and play some authority.

    AI didn't report it but the source article from Bloomber says they did ask first:
    "Ubisoft said it has notified Apple and Google that Area F2 is infringing its copyrights but the companies have refused to remove the game from the Google Play and Apple App stores."
    However, if this is true, well then it's quite a different story!
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 17 of 25
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,532member
    A Chinese company making a cheap knockoff of American software?

    S H O C K E D
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 25
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,532member

    mpantone said:
    lkrupp said:
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Why dont you go w Alibaba
    Deep pockets theory. Sue the one’s with the most money.
    Alibaba is the rough equivalent of Amazon in China. They're big, to the tune of $544B market cap. There aren't many bigger than Alibaba. They can dance with Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook.

    Ubisoft is probably suing Apple and Google as distributors; due to copyright protection in the USA, Ubisoft has a strong case. Ubisoft could also go after Alibaba as the content producer's (copyright violator) parent. The copyright protection in China is not the same as here in the USA, would be a steeper hill litigation-wise for Ubisoft to climb.

    Ubisoft is not going after Apple and Google just because they have lots of money. They are also doing it because of US copyright protection laws. The market cap difference between Apple, Alphabet and Alibaba isn't a discerning factor in Ubisoft's choice here.
    lkrupp said:
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Why dont you go w Alibaba
    Deep pockets theory. Sue the one’s with the most money.
    Deep pocket theory doesn't work here.  Everyone involved in this situation has money. They're suing to block distribution of what they claim is stolen IP, not to get a payday.  They realize going after Alibaba in China is probably a waste of time.  They can try to stop the distribution of the alleged stolen IP in markets outside of China by preventing the two largest channels from selling the game.    

    Kuyangkoh said:
    lkrupp said:
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Why dont you go w Alibaba
    Deep pockets theory. Sue the one’s with the most money.
    Alibaba have deep pockets too....hehehe they are traded in Wall Street 



    I don't think you guys read his comment correctly. Did you guys skip the "most" part?

    I mean my neighbor has money but if Apple is involved who do you think will get fined?
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 25
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,532member

    Fatman said:
    Chinese steal, that’s what they do. A Communist valueless nation. They stole from my company, the people are friendly they bring us gifts when they visit our office and then stab you in the back when they leave. 

    They SO do this!!

    Still don't understand how this is Apples fault haha. Must be Apples quarterly report and because everything is Apple's fault nowadays.
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 25
    longpathlongpath Posts: 356member
    As Ubisoft doesn’t offer a mobile version, can they really claim to have sustained a business loss? If the various trade dress identifiers have been altered, and it is sold in a space Ubisoft has chosen not to enter, I suspect this suit may prove a costly misstep for them.
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
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