Blizzard Wins Lawsuit Against Chinese Developer That Ripped Off ‘Overwatch’
In a not entirely surprising move, a Chinese court has ruled in favour of Blizzard in its lawsuit against 4399 Network in a case claiming the latter publisher copied elements of Overwatch. Based in Xiamen, 4399 Network publishes Clash of Fighters and Gunplay Battlefront, two games that feature characters, maps, and systems that are awfully similar to Overwatch.
The Pudong Area People's Court agreed with Blizzard's claim, according to a report in Shine (via VGC), and has ordered 4399 Network to pay Blizzard and NetEase (who Blizzard co-publishes Overwatch with in China) a fine of 4 million yuan ($569,000).
4399 Network argued against the claim, saying that Overwatch itself had similar elements of previous games and therefore could not own the aspects Clash of Fighters and Gunplay Battlefront that the US publisher claimed were stolen.
The fine for mobile game Clash of Fighters was significantly higher than Gunplay Battlefront, because the latter hasn't been available to play since July 14, 2017.
Clash of Fighters - which also goes by Heroes of Warfare - certainly looks similar to Overwatch, with a fair few characters that look as though they'd be well at home on Blizzard's servers.
In addition to having similar characters, there are maps in Clash of Fighters that look near identical to Overwatch's, and even things like the layout of the screen and the look of the UI are very similar to Blizzard's shooter.
This isn't the first time Blizzard has seen its games lifted by Chinese developers. The mobile FPS Ying Xiong Shi Ming, or Hero Mission in English, is a wholesale rip-off of Overwatch with other layers of copyright infringement dropped in. For instance, you can play a Hanzo-like archer character but drop on different skins to look like Rambo, Hawkeye, or a character from Assassin's Creed.
Featured Image Credit: Blizzard