Just recently, the team behind No Man’s Sky managed to escape a worrying three-year long legal battle with BskyB over the use of the word Sky in the game’s title. This was a big relief at the time but unfortunately, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for long as No Man’s Sky now faces more legal troubles, this time for patent infringement.
For those that don’t know, No Man’s Sky uses a “Superformula” to generate its huge amount of in-game planets. This formula was acknowledged by Sean Murray, the game’s creator in an interview last year. Now, according to a report on Telegraaf.nl (via NeoGAF), a Dutch company called Genicap is claiming that it owns the patent for the ‘Superformula’.
Jeroen Sparrow, a representative of Genicap has said that while the company hasn’t provided a license for its patent to Hello Games’, the company does not want to stop No Man’s Sky from launching next month. However, if the formula is used they will “need to have a talk”.
Genicap is apparently making a game of its own based on the formula and since No Man’s Sky is said to already be using it, the Dutch company would also like to “trade knowledge with Hello Games”. For now though, efforts that Genicap has made to contact the studio have gone ignored.
It is important to note that Genicap hasn’t seen the source code for No Man’s Sky yet so it can’t be completely sure that its patent is being infringed on. However, last year in an interview with New Yorker, Sean Murray did talk about how he had struggled with procedural planetary generation (a core part of No Man’s Sky) until he had discovered an equation known as the “Superformula”, which was published by Johan Gielis in 2003. The trouble comes from the fact that Gielis owns a patent on that formula and is the Chief Research Officer at Genicap, he is also on the board of directors.
For now, Hello Games have yet to comment on these legal allegations but it doesn’t sound like it is going to get in the way of No Man’s Sky launch on the 9th of August.
KitGuru Says: It is too early to tell how this situation is going to play out but by the sounds of it, Genicap isn’t interested in hindering the launch of No Man’s Sky, so those looking forward to playing it next month shouldn’t worry too much.