Around a month ago, we learned that Crytek was suing Cloud Imperium Games over a licensing dispute. The dispute came into play after CIG switched from using the CryEngine to Amazon’s Lumberyard engine. Crytek claims CIG undersold CryEngine’s impact and used it in two games without permission. Now, CIG has responded to these legal allegations.
Back when CIG was getting development for Star Citizen up and running, the company based the game on CryEngine under a licensing agreement with Crytek. However, CIG later switched to Amazon’s Lumberyard engine. For those who don’t know, a couple of years ago Crytek sold Amazon the rights to use the CryEngine as the base for its own engine. Amazon then used this to form the Lumberyard engine and made it available to developers for free, essentially allowing developers to circumvent Crytek’s CryEngine licensing fees by using Lumbaryard instead, which is what Cloud Imperium Games did, hence the dispute.
Now, in a filing to have the lawsuit dismissed, Cloud Imperium Games has addressed the Crytek lawsuit. According to CIG, the suit “should never have been filed”. The motion goes on to make several points, stating that Crytek’s complaint “sacrifices legal sufficiency for loud publicity”. It adds that “Crytek conceals the actual Game License Agreement from the court and the press”. Finally, CIG’s lawyers add that the actual GLA “eliminates virtually every claim and remedy Crytek seeks”.
As Reddit poster Liudeius points out, each of Crytek’s complaints can be refuted by reading the Game License Agreement, which has been made public. Issue 1, Crytek claimed that CIG was only given permission to make Star Citizen, meaning the addition of Squadron 42 broke the license agreement. However, the GLA defines ‘the game’ as both “Space Citizen” and its related space fighter game “Squadron 42”, the GLA also includes a term covering any name changes, thus ‘Space Citizen’ being changed to ‘Star Citizen’ does not affect the agreement.
The second claim Crytek made is that CIG broke the GLA by switching to the Amazon Lumberyard engine. According to the GLA, CIG is given “exclusive rights to use CryEngine” and the right to “embed CryEngine in the game”. The established legal meaning of this wording means that the right to use CryEngine is given exclusively to CIG and not other companies, but does not mean that CIG has to exclusively use CryEngine.
Crytek’s other claims all fall into the use of CryEngine. For instance, Crytek stated that CIG is no longer displaying the Crytek copyright notice in-game, which would violate the GLA. However, since CIG isn’t using the engine, this term no longer applies.
There were two claims that CIG did not provide a defense for. The first is that confidential CryEngine source code was shown on Bugsmashers and disclosed to Faceware, which would violate the GLA. CIG was also required to provide bugfixes they developed for CryEngine up until the launch of Star Citizen. However, it is safe to assume that if CIG is no longer using the CryEngine, then this no longer applies.
So far, the judge has not responded to the motion to dismiss the lawsuit. However, we will hopefully hear more later on in the month.
KitGuru Says: With the Game License Agreement going public, a lot of Crytek’s initial arguments seem weaker than they did last month. It will be interesting to see where this goes from here.