Contemporary Games Can Take Up To Three Years To Develop

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Protecting Intellectual Property Rights in Video Game Development

Open source code has paved the way for a bright and innovative future for video game development. Developers are no longer limited by their imaginations alone, as open source makes it possible for any individual to contribute to video game code creation, helping shape and bring the games to life.


Our previous blog post, which looked at the evolution of “MVP Baseball 2005,” is a prime example of how open source code is making waves in the gaming industry. However, while “MVP Baseball 2005” licenses and code were free to the public due to an expired contract, this isn’t the case for every game.

Video games are at the forefront of the entertainment market, with 155 million Americans playing them, according to a study done by the Entertainment Software Association. Video games must constantly evolve to meet consumers’ demands for bigger and better gaming experiences. There are a lot of moving parts involved when creating a game: the creative portion, the technology used to create the game, and the business model used to distribute it. Each separate facet of game creation poses a challenge to those who wish to utilize open source code to develop the game further. Licenses and trademarks are put in place to ensure that changes to the game adhere to the original copyright. It is essential to eliminate any uncertainty around compliance and this can be done by scanning to automatically detect open source and other third party components within the portfolio.

To protect the developers’ work, stringent laws have been established to preserve their intellectual property (IP). An IP policy addresses the tools used to create video games as well as the content used within the game. A copyright creates a safeguard around the creative and artistic aspects of the game code. If a developer wants to make a new game based from a pre-existing code, he or she must first obtain the appropriate licenses from the original copyright holder. For example, say a developer wanted to create a video game for the newest James Bond movie “Spectre”, the game developer would first have to obtain the rights to do so from the rights holders of the original movie.

Once a developer decides to facilitate the development of a video game using open source, they should be aware of the risks associated with failure to adhere to the guidelines set in place by the open source license. For instance, all changes made to the game must be passed through the facilitator for approval because, while open source code allows for freedom and innovation in the gaming world, it isn’t a free-for-all. Every aspect of the game is tied back to the original IP policy and copyright, so not following those guidelines could be costly.

When developing any product it is essential to have a clear idea of exactly what is in the software portfolio. Game developers also recognise that there are many IP issues to be aware of when creating new gaming packages. Eliminating issues around open source vulnerability, security vulnerability and compliance is critical and can be done by scanning to automatically detect open source and other third party components within the portfolio.


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More Stories By Lacey Thoms

Lacey Thoms is a marketing specialist and blogger at Protecode, a provider of open source license management solutions. During her time at Protecode, Lacey has written many articles on open source software management. She has a background in marketing communications, digital advertising, and web design and development. Lacey has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications from Carleton University.