Ubisoft Sues Google And Apple Over Rainbow Six Siege Clone [Update]

Area F2 (Image: Alibaba)

Ubisoft isn’t happy about Area F2, a free-to-play shooter on the Google Play and Apple App Store that appears to be a clone of their successful game, Rainbow Six Siege. Ubisoft is now suing to remove the game from the popular mobile app marketplaces.

Bloomberg reports that in a complaint filed in a U.S. court in Los Angeles on Friday, Ubisoft called Area F2 “a near carbon copy” of Rainbow Six Siege. Ubisoft claims that “Virtually every aspect of AF2 is copied from [Rainbow Six Siege], from the operator selection screen to the final scoring screen, and everything in between.”

Ubisoft says they reached out to both Apple and Google about the game and their concerns, but the companies refused to remove the game. We contacted Google, Apple, and Ubisoft for comment.

Update: Monday 12:15 am AEST: Ubisoft sent Kotaku this comment about the lawsuit.

“Ubisoft and our teams have poured years of talent, creativity and resources into making Rainbow Six Siege the success that it is today. While we are not able to comment on pending litigation, we can confirm that Ubisoft is committed to protecting its intellectual property.”

Area F2 was created by Ejoy.com, a company that is owned by Chinese multinational technology company Alibaba. Looking at screenshots of the Ejoy.com created Area F2, it isn’t hard to spot many, many similarities between it and R6 Siege.

Area F2 (Screenshot: Aliababa)

Ubisoft explains in their complaint that R6 Siege is one of their most “valuable intellectual properties” and they believe Area F2 is built to “piggyback” on their popular game.

It might seem weird for Ubisoft to sue the store owners and not the actual developer and publisher of Area F2 but as Engadget speculates, it might have to do with where Alibaba and Ejoy.com are located. Suing for copyright infringement in China is challenging and it might be easier for Ubisoft to get the game removed from popular stores like Google Play, which would make it harder for Area F2 to find new players.


Comments

    Good. Hopefully more companies do the same.

    Shock horror it’s a chinese developed clone. I’ll gather my jaw up from the floor.
    Wouldn’t it be wiser to go after the developer rather than the delivery method?

    Does that mean anyone can sue Steam for the hundreds of clones/asset flips on their platform?

    Last edited 17/05/20 8:20 am

      Ubisoft would need to pursue the developer through the Chinese legal system and don’t have much influence to make any progress there.

      You could possibly go after Steam if you couldn’t get at a developer directly and the platform denied your requests to remove a game that infringed on your property in some way.
      Ubisoft would certainly carry a lot of clout with Steam.

        Yeah fair point. The Chinese government don’t have a great history of punishing IP theft unless they are trying to get positive PR and broadcast it through state media.
        Must be great to have selective laws for the government while oppressing the fuck out of their own people.

      There's nothing illegal about most of the asset flips though. While the developer hasn't put much effort into the game, they hold a valid license to the code and art. There's not really any legal reason to remove them.

        I too like to apply my jurisdiction's laws generally on all the internet's legal issues. You're either not legally trained, or close to being disbarred.

          iirc, you can copyright assets and asthetics, but you can't copyright mechanics (you can however patent it), but I don't think Ubisoft has a patent on the millitary shooter genre.

            Its not about the game being a "military shooter" or the fact the game in question is using assett flips from a stock asset store (of course if they did sneak in an actual gun design from r6 into the game then thats just more fuel to the fire)

            The case in question is whether the game being sued is enough of a clone to cause "brand confusion" ie. If you look and play the game it is exactly the same as the original in question. Like to put a more obvious example if someone copied and pasted the full Doom stages down to the mechanics and just subbed in a store bought asset in place of the zombies and Doom Guy and tried to sell it as an original product. It doesnt matter if the monsters/player looks different you are breaching cooywritten work.

          Wot? Most if not all 'asset flips' use publically available commercially-licensed assets, such as from the Unity Asset Store. There's literally no assertion that any copyright violation is involved. It's completely irrelevant what juristiction asset flips are published in.

        Its not about being an asset flip. Its teh fact that the product is a clone of R6 Siege.

        Copywrite is meant to protect your product from loss of income from clones creating brand confusion. If the game pretty much copies R6 just rebadged with a different name even with the use of stock assets it is in breach of copywrite.

          Sure. The comment I replied to was asking if similar action could be taken against asset flips.

          My point was that there is no copyright infringement in most asset flips: while the developer has added little to no original work to their game, they do have a valid license to sell what they bought off the asset store.

            Ah cheers! Got a bit mixed up from the comment chain! =P

            Yeah asset flips whilst terrible are quite legal (unless they literally lift an asset from another game they dont have license to!)

      No. That's ludicrous.

      Ignoring the corruption endemic in the Chinese system, apple and google have a responsibility to properly police their own stores on which they make a profit.

      Steam is also responsible as a storefront for all those asset flits and rip offs. They are legally liable and should be held responsible for it.

      You don't get to profit but wash your hands of it.

        What is illegal about a clone or asset flip?

          Asset flips are not illegal (well assuming they stick to using the asset pack.. different story if they start using assets for existing games they have no rights to.) At worst its just a lazy cash grab for ppl trying to get some loose change for minimal effort

          Clones however can be breach of copywrite if they fall under brand confusion... its like plaigerism for games. If you make a product that is a complete copy of an existing ip to the point people can either confuse your product for an existing ip or literally copy the game and sell as your own product you are breaching copywrite law.

            If that was the case, then why are Stardew Valley and Bloodstained ROTN such success stories?
            If I didn't see the title screen (and knew nothing about the industry) I would instantly assume that Stardew was a new Harvest Moon game, and Bloodstained a new Castlevania game.
            Those are both amazing games, but they don't exactly make an effort to hide their "influences".

              But their not clones though... their all seperate games that have their own personalities and flavour.

              Yes they show their influences on their sleeves but they arent copying their originals literal scene for scene. Making a game from the same genre does not make a clone.

              Events and story is different on Stardew, the villagers have different personalities to Harvest Moon and so on. And do I really need to pick out the various differences on Boodstained? Yes they are from the same genre but you wouldnt mistake one for the other once you play them side by side.

              Again the issue isnt whether you are making a game in the same genre using the same systems (fighting games is an obvious one) its when you make a product that is a practical copy of an existing productand try to sell it as an original for profit.

                The thing is, this crappy knock-off game doesn't look any more similar to Siege than Stardew is to HM. Without using any of the same assets or code, I don't see how this game is any more similar than any other tactical FPS. If anything it's less similar, since this game is mobile and thus is heavily watered down.

    Just checked a few things out about it and... wow. Ubi sure aren't wrong here. Hope they win.

      What aspect is it that appears to be illegal?

        Infringing intellectual property by ripping off game play, art style, even functional elements like the UI.

        It's like "writing" a book called parry hotter about a boy that goes to sorcery school.

        Last edited 18/05/20 9:19 am

          You can't copyright gameplay, we have genres with many games in each. So many shooters are similar, same for platformers. Heck, the games where you shoot marbles and when 3 match, they disappear. There is literally no difference in the gameplay of any of them.

          Art style - really? Pixel style indies are everywhere at the moment. Cel shaded games, realistic dark brown gritty etc.

          Basically as long as you don't actually copy another game, you do it yourself, you can get away with most of these things.

            Yes you are correct. Individually art style and gameplay does not make a breach... combining both to the point you are almost a full copy? Thats a paddlin... ermm i mean breach of copywrite!

            Its all about context you can use the same gameplay mechanic or same engine/style but your content needs to differentiate itself significantly or risk copywrite claims. Lets take your match 3 example.. yes the basic puzzle gameplay is the same but how you dress it up, how you alter stages, power ups, storymodes, etc differentiates it from each other. Make dr mario clone where gameplay is exactly the same no power ups or change in "story" or whatever with the only significant difference is using different art style and conveniently calling it Prof Maria will not save you from Nintys lawyers.

        Nah I don't have to answer this. I'm not a lawyer, neither are you :) I'm not being drawn into a strawman argument :)

          The general consensus in this thread is pretty interesting. Last time I read an article like this everyone was arguing the opposite way. I want to know why everyone's opinion seems to have changed.

            I would assume this is because the game in question seems to much of a 1 to 1 clone of R6 at face value to make it seem like Ubisoft is in the right in this instance.

            Most folk dont like frivolous litigation specially when companies like Ubi and EA put thdir clout around vs the little guy per se...but that doesnt mean folks wont condone what seems to be a legitimate case.

            I mean none of us here are lawyers obviously so its all armchair speculation but again it does seem like this game in question did attempt to rip off R6. And nobody likes ppl taking credit for other peoples work. Now whether the devs can successfully argue their work is standalone and not a full clone of Ubis product being sold for profit thats for the suits and court to argue

    They are suing Google and Apple for the right to apply DMCA requests on mobile phone clones, since Ubisoft has already asked for the games to be removed and both companies have failed to respond in their mind appropriately. Google and Apple under DMCA may not be doing their duty here.

    Which is funny if you consider if you put a 3 second unapproved clip as fair-usein a video you get taken down near instantaneous... but dilberatly copy a multi-million dollar AAA game graphically, sound, playstyle and maybe even code. NOTHING!!!

    This may be a very interesting case to watch.

      Considering both Google Stadia and Apple Games services have been courting Ubisoft to supply them with games... this might hurt them cause another department in their company is refusing their requests.

      Most of the time play store and the like have a hands off ala steam policy the only requirement from what i recall is they just need to certify which devices the aps will run on so it can be labeled on the shop.

      Hence you get a crapton of clones and the like =P

    While I do think Ubisoft has every right to pursue the distributors, due to the Chinese governments notorious attitude towards copyright. I do feel it’s prudent to acknowledge Ubisoft having 2 large studios based out of China.

    So they are part of that system really and I do think it’s slightly ironic this has occurred. If you are willing to do business there, then you think you’d be confident in the legal system to support you. Or are you there due to a slight bit of old school colonialism taking advantage of sub par worker rights.

    Haha, from the amount of game clones on mobile phone stores, I can imagine there's a legal team from Apple and Google, messed up hair, bags under their eyes, suit and tie but lying sideways on the bottom of a bathroom floor with the cold shower nozzle turned to high, and there's a computer nearby triaging 100 trillion requests and rising, like watching a dragonball z scouter as someone powers up

    im suprised that Creative Assembly hasnt tried anything like this considering the amount of mobile games that litterally use assests from Total War games

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