R2 Mobile came out 3 years ago, and many players noted that the game is very similar to Lineage M. NCSOFT lawyers also noticed a lot of borrowing from their game and filed a copyright infringement complaint with a South Korean court.
According to NCSOFT representatives, the borrowings affected not only the interface and the location of icons in it, but also transformations, agathions, characters, “Blessing of Einhasad”, weight and overload of the character. Copying included both the general meaning of the mechanics and the numerical values. For example, the chances of items falling out and sharpening are the same up to three decimal places.
Representatives of Webzen explained the similarity by the fact that the game interface is an established standard that is familiar to players and cannot be patented. And the game mechanics of NCSOFT were previously copied from other games, including from a roguelike NetHack released in 1987.
The trial dragged on for two years, as the composition of the judicial board changed several times due to the retirement of the judge. But in the end it ended with the victory of NCSOFT.
“The NCsoft plaintiff’s claim for an injunction is granted in full, and the monetary claim is partially satisfied. Defendant Webzen is prohibited from promoting, advertising, and reproducing, distributing or transmitting a game offered under the name “R2 Mobile” – court decision.
The exact amount of compensation has not yet been determined, but NCSOFT has previously claimed compensation of 1.1 billion won (approximately 820 thousand US dollars at the moment).
Webzen can appeal, and if they do, then R2 Mobile will be serviced at least until the end of the new proceedings.
This decision may set a precedent for further practice in similar processes. For example, to influence a similar trial around ArcheAge War from XL Games.