The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) published a report on Banking in Video Games and Virtual Worlds (“Report”) that warns of greater scrutiny of and enforcements against the financial services offered in games and virtual worlds that increasingly resemble traditional financial products and services offered by regulated banking and payment systems. The Report is applicable to all types of games and virtual worlds, but creators and publishers of blockchain games and metaverses, in particular, should take note of this report.Continue Reading CFPB Report Targets Games and Virtual Worlds – What Blockchain Game and Metaverse Companies Need to Know

In December 2023, China’s National Press and Publication Administration introduced draft regulations with potentially significant implications for the online gaming industry. The proposed regulations, aimed at curbing in-game spending, could substantially affect games that rely on high spenders for their revenue, particularly “free to play” games. This initiative is part of China’s broader strategy to regulate the country’s leading gaming industry, which rebounded to generate approximately $42 billion in 2023, following a decline in revenue in the previous year due to China’s previous regulatory crackdown which included a temporary suspension of new game approvals and restrictions on the amount of time children can spend on gaming.Continue Reading China Proposes New Regulations for Online Gaming

On April 3, 2023, the Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) filed a civil complaint against Activision Blizzard Inc. (“Activision”) alleging that the “competitive balance tax” constituted an unreasonable restraint of trade under Section 1 of the Sherman Act,[1] and entered into a proposed consent decree (a binding settlement) that, if approved by a court, would bar the gaming company from imposing a “tax” against its esports leagues that exceed spending limits on player compensation.Continue Reading No More Games: Activision Settles with DOJ Over Esports Compensation

Roblox recently announced that it is working on generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools that will help developers who build experiences on Roblox, to more easily create games and assets. The first two test tools create generative AI content from a text prompt and enable generative AI to complete computer code. This is just the tip of the iceberg on how generative AI will be used in games and a variety of other creative industries. Music, film, art, comic books, and literary works are some other uses. AI tools are powerful and their use will no doubt be far reaching. In the near term, so too will the associated legal issues. Some of the legal issues include:Continue Reading How Generative AI Generates Legal Issues in the Games Industry

The rising prevalence of crypto and virtual currencies has invited the scrutiny of several regulatory bodies who continue to grapple with the unique challenges posed by blockchain technology, FinCEN being one prime example. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) is an arm of the United States Department of Treasury that seeks to impede financial crimes such as money laundering and terrorist financing, and was the first financial regulator in the U.S. to address virtual currency.Continue Reading Blockchain Game Developers and FinCEN: When are State Money Transmission Laws Applicable?

When a patent owner loses at the International Trade Commission (“ITC”), can it hire new counsel and try again in district court? That question will be answered in Gamevice, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. et al, No. 3-18-cv-01942 (N.D. Cal.), where plaintiff Gamevice is asserting three patents against Nintendo despite losing on those same patents in two prior ITC proceedings.Continue Reading Too Many Bites at the Apple?

Video games have come a long way. They have morphed from simulated games of ping pong to today’s fully-immersive virtual reality games that leverage biometrics and artificial intelligence (AI). While the origins of using AI in games were simple – such as to create more realistic non-player characters  – the use of AI now allows for much more. AI-based tools may be used to outsource quality assurance, gain data-driven insights into players, or to better understand player value to maximize retention and in-game revenue. Now is thus a good time for companies to keep in mind regulatory bodies’ increased focus on the use of AI.
Continue Reading Video Games, AI, and …the Law?

A newly inked strategic partnership between Sony Music Entertainment and Roblox is another indication of a maturing relationship amongst the music, gaming, and esports industries, a synergy that has evolved for years and in particular, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The major record label and game creation platform have enjoyed the mutual success of their recent collaborations and are now gearing up to allocate more resources to developing “innovative music experiences for the Roblox community that offer a range of new commercial opportunities for Sony Music artists to reach new audiences and generate new revenue streams around virtual entertainment.”
Continue Reading Strategic Partnerships Advance Music and Gaming Synergy