Nintendo have found themselves in hot water after a New York court ruled against them in a patent infringement case with a Japanese inventor. Seijiro Tomita, a former Sony engineer, alleged that he met with Nintendo in 2003 to discuss his glasses-free 3D technology, which they used in the 3DS without paying royalties. Nintendo contended that they met with several inventors, many of whom had similar ideas and that Mr. Tomita cannot claim sole ownership of the concept. While Tomita had initially demanded compensation of $9.80 per handheld unit sold (a total of around $270 million) the court ruled he was owed $30 million in damages – still not a sum to be sniffed at.
Nintendo had the following to say in an official press release:
Nintendo is confident that the result will be set aside. The jury’s verdict will not impact Nintendo’s continued sales in the United States of its highly acclaimed line of video game hardware, software and accessories, including the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others.
Despite developer Maxis’ repeated assertations that Sim City absolutely requires online connectivity to function, rendering the DRM features irremovable, a Reddit user named UKAzzer has managed to access the game’s debug mode and play without an internet connection. The news is likely to please free software activists and gamers with poor internet speeds alike, since always-online single player games often draw ire from the fan community. Like Diablo III last year, Sim City has had huge server load issues resulting from a lack of preparedness for the influx of players soon after the game’s launch.