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Blizzard sues Chinese game company over its Warcraft ‘ripoff’

Sina Games’ Glorious Saga is ‘almost entirely copied from the Warcraft games’

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Two World of Warcraft characters, one Horde and one Alliance, star at each other, snarling. Blizzard Entertainment
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Blizzard Entertainment filed a lawsuit in California on Aug. 16, alleging that Sina Games’ free-to-play Glorious Saga is “almost entirely copied from the Warcraft games and related products.”

The World of Warcraft developer is seeking a court order to stop the infringement and maximum damages for the “serious and irreparable harm to Blizzard and its business,” according to the lawsuit. Specifically, Blizzard is asking for “$150,000 per infringed work,” as well as attorneys’ fees and others deemed “just and appropriate.”

Sina Games is a subsidiary of Chinese software and tech company Sina Corp. Blizzard alleges that “many” of the company’s games are based off well-known franchises like Yu-Gi-Oh!, Naruto, and, of course, Warcraft.

Glorious Saga is available in China and elsewhere; in the United States, the app is downloadable on the Google Play Store under the name Glorious World. It’s listed under a different developer and name, however, though the screenshots show the title Glorious Saga. It’s described on the store as a “real time strategy game for building an empire.”

Blizzard’s lawyers say that the defendants have “profited handsomely” from the game and its alleged copyright infringement, “attracting thousands of consumers” to Glorious Saga by using the offending imagery.

But Sina Games is just one of many games that have appropriated elements of Blizzard’s intellectual property. According to the lawsuit, game studios often attempt to copy characters or imagery “because of the immense popularity of the Warcraft games and Warcraft universe,” and Glorious Saga is just “among the latest” that have done so.

Blizzard outlines a number of complaints in the suit, including Glorious Saga’s use of Warcraft character names like Jaina Proudmoore, Gul’dan, and Malfurion.

A comparison of the Glorious Saga logo and the Battle for Azeroth cover from the lawsuit Blizzard Entertainment, Sina Games

“Every monster, creature, animal, and vehicle in the Infringing Game was copied from the Warcraft games,” the suit alleges. “Weapons, amulets, and other objects were taken straight from the Warcraft games, without pretense. Audio cues and sound effects from the Warcraft games were reproduced for the Infringing Game.”

Blizzard’s lawyers also pointed to Glorious Saga’s mobile icon, which recreates the cover of the Battle of Azeroth expansion cover — itself a throwback to the original Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. Both images feature a human and an orc-like character eye-to-eye and snarling. Other examples listed in the lawsuit include miniaturized versions of Warcraft universe characters: what seem to be copies of Illidan Stormrage, Grommash Hellscream, Malfurion, and Gul’dan. Blizzard alleges that Sina Games’ use of Warcraft material was “willful and intentional.”

Blizzard is represented by Marc E. Mayer and Mark C. Humphrey from Los Angeles-based law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp. Neither Blizzard, its lawyers, or Sina Games have responded to Polygon’s inquiries before publication time.

Update (Aug. 30): Sina Games’ Glorious Saga went offline on Aug. 29. “All servers will be closed,” a representative wrote on the game’s Facebook page. The developer cited “irresistible reasons” for the closure, but did not mention the lawsuit.

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