We’ve always taken issue with the Internet’s highly malleable list of steps for rocking ultimate. "1) Do a thing, 2) Do another thing, 3) ???, and 4) Profit" are all well and good, but our generation’s best and brightest seem to have omitted the final step: Get sued by a tiny, opportunistic company over some patent that holds about as much water as a shattered snow globe.
Worlds.com, currently in the process of suing NCSoft -- while almost assuredly sliding its fingers down a bountiful mustache and readjusting its monocle -- has voiced its diabolical intentions: First NCSoft, then the World… of Warcraft. Then the world.
Worlds.com CEO Thom Kidrin said as much when he told Silicon Alley Insider that his company “absolutely” intends to send the gavel crashing down on games like WoW and Second Life if its suit against NCSoft succeeds.
Apparently, the conspicuously convenient patent arises from a collection of Starbright patents, which provide “an architecture for enabling thousands of simultaneous users in a 3D virtual space.” Worlds.com now owns said patents and decided they might – like an errant $20 bill in a recently washed pair of jeans – be useful.
So, where does mean old man Jenkins’ money-grubbing plot fall apart? Let our good friend and super sleuth Thomas McDonald explain it for you:
“This must be news to Steve Colley. Back in 1973, he and some other young programmers interning at NASA created MazeWar… Not only did you navigate a maze, but each player was represented by an avatar (an eyeball), people could shoot each other, and the whole thing was networked, complete with online chat!”
“But MazeWar wasn’t Colley’s work alone. Others had inspired him, and subsequent people built on his work, drawing on the potential of new technology to forge the entire gaming industry. No one person or company can claim ownership of these ideas.”
So, did you know that Worlds.com invented massively multiplayer gaming and has a pair of patents to prove it?
It came as complete news to me, even though I wrote a column on massively multiplayer gaming back when the genre was just beginning. Apparently, Worlds.com created some kind of branded virtual spaces that used avatars and scalable chat, got somebody in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to rubber stamp its nonsense applications, and now is going to sue the entire MMORPG industry into submission, starting with NCSoft, possibly because it has less frightening lawyers than Blizzard.