Author: Jakub Barański

Game chat crimes: Does the developer have a duty to report them?

Multiplayer gamesare an increasingly important market segment. All kinds of features allowing players to communicate during gameplay, such as voice communication and text chats, largely account for their popularity. While player interaction is desired by players themselves and game developers, it can involve inappropriate and even unlawful player behaviour. What is the provider of an online game to do in such a situation?

A chat in a multiplayergame can even be used to commit a crime. Therefore, providers of online games (in particular developers, but also publishers and distributors) need to be aware of the obligations this may entail. This is important given that a large number of gamers are younger people who may be exposed to criminal activity by other game users.

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Fundamental issues a game developer should pay attention to when negotiating a contract for publication of a video game

Contracts for publication of video games are concluded between game developers and companies specialising in publishing games (sometimes referred to “dev-publisher agreements”).

Just a few years ago, the word in the
video game industry was that the role of publishers in the process of
commercialising new games was on the way out, and the future of the industry
was in self-publishing of games by developers. But publishers have not gone
away, and still represent a hugely important element of the operation of the
entire industry. For game developers, contracts with publishers are one of
their key business relationships. The publisher typically provides not only
services and knowhow in marketing and distribution of games, but also serves as
a fundamental source for financing game development.

So as a developer, it is vital to consider the nature of cooperation with a publisher, and first and foremost what to pay attention to when negotiating the contract with the publisher.

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Are loot boxes a type of gambling?

Star Wars Battlefront II, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, FIFA 18: these are just a few examples of video games using loot boxes. They are becoming an increasingly common form of microtransaction introduced into video games by developers. But concerns are being raised that they can lead to addiction, particularly among young players. Gambling regulators in various countries are also beginning to take a close look at loot boxes. The Polish government, for one, has announced that it plans to study loot boxes and the related risks. Do loot boxes truly pose a threat requiring regulation?

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Will we see a flood of games with hussars and insurgents?

Last week, without fanfare (compared to the bluster shown by the government a few days later in announcing support for the game industry at Poznań Game Arena), a draft of the Act on Financial Support for Production of Cultural Video Games was released. The solutions bruited for several months stir mixed feelings in the industry. Particular controversy surrounds the “cultural test” games will have to pass before they win support. Some commentators fear this may trigger a flood of poor-quality, superficially patriotic games developed solely with the aim of winning government support. It’s worth taking a closer look at the solutions provided in the bill to reach our own conclusions on how they may impact the Polish game market.

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More and more disputes in the gaming industry

Andrzej Sapkowski’s demands for more money for copyrights to The Witcher is the tip of the iceberg. Changes in the gaming industry, like increased production costs and the dominance of digital distribution platforms, will give rise to an increasing number of disputes, in particular over intellectual property rights. What could trigger these disputes and how can they be prevented?

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The future of legal services in a world of artificial intelligence

Will AI replace lawyers and judges or simply change the way they work and think about the law?

Back in the late 1980s, lawyers used to type their legal briefs on old-fashioned typewriters. Briefs were shorter then but drove right to the central issue of the case. Now some lawyers copy/paste long passages from other briefs and compose new ones running to hundreds of pages. Judges’ opinions are longer too, burying the true reasons behind their decisions in page after page of verbiage. Word-processing software makes it easy to spin out long briefs or opinions where the real issues often become blurred. More importantly, it seems the way we write has also affected the way we think.

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