Sega sues EA over "The Simpsons: Road Rage"


[B]Sega sues Fox, EA over ‘Simpsons’ video game

LOS ANGELES, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Video game publisher Sega of America on Thursday sued a division of Fox Entertainment and industry leader Electronic Arts Inc. , saying a game based on Fox’s well-known “Simpsons” characters infringes a Sega patent.

The suit, filed in San Francisco federal court, named as defendants Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group Inc. ; Fox Interactive, Fox’s former games unit that is now controlled by the video game arm of Vivendi Universal ; the game’s developer Radical Games Ltd.; and Electronic Arts.

Sega, a division of Japan’s Sega Corp. <7964.T>, claims the 2001 video game “Simpsons Road Rage,” developed by Radical and Fox Interactive and published by EA, was designed to “deliberately copy and imitate” the Sega game “Crazy Taxi,” according to court documents.

Sega holds a U.S. patent, known as the '138 patent, on “Crazy Taxi,” in which players take the role of a taxi driver who has to accomplish outrageous driving stunts to pick up passengers and quickly deliver them to their destinations.

Sega cited reviews by video game publications of “Simpsons Road Rage” that said the game was very similar to “Crazy Taxi,” including one that characterized “Road Rage” as a “shameless incident of design burglary.”

A spokeswoman for Radical Games was not immediately available for comment, nor was a spokeswoman for Fox Filmed Entertainment. A spokeswoman for Vivendi Universal Games had not seen the suit and could not comment. A spokesman for EA said the company had not been served and could not comment.

The suit asks the court to stop the sale or import of “Simpsons Road Rage,” which has sold more than 1 million copies to date, as well as for damages for lost profits and a recall of any copies of the game available at retail.

Fox Entertainment Group is majority owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Ltd. .

12/05/03 02:51[/B]

Direct Link to site: Sega sues Fox, EA over ‘Simpsons’ video game


The Apocolypse approaches. That’s all I have to say.



Personally, I liked the Simpsons game much better. It will be interesting to see how this case turns out.

This thread might be better off in the news section if it isn’t there already.


It is now on the news section.



so if this passes, does this mean GTA 3 and Vice City could be sued too because you can get in a taxi and collect fairs?

i haven’t played Simpson’s Road Rage yet, but it seemed like you where driving around in the Simpson’s cars, not a taxi and there was more of a storyline…?

i could be wrong


shouldn’t rockstar be doing more of the suing? This game seems more directly related to GTA than taxi, though I can see a certain resemblance.


I think the folks at Rockstar are just doing their best to stay out of courtrooms lately…:hmm:


Originally posted by Goon
shouldn’t rockstar be doing more of the suing? This game seems more directly related to GTA than taxi, though I can see a certain resemblance.

That’s what I thought at first, having recently played the Simpsons game on the Gamecube. But the suit names “Simpsons: Road Rage” as the title they are contesting. The game you are thinking of, (and the one I initially thought of) is the new Simpsons game called “Hit & Run.” Which does contain some of the same gameplay design as GTA, but has very little in common with “Taxi”.

I havent played “Road Rage,” but I have played “Crazy Taxi.” From what I’ve seen from RR, it looks like alot of the gameplay is similar to “Crazy Taxi”, with a few additions tacked on to add the Simpsons’ flair. Still, IMO this suit would set a really bad example if Sega wins. Even if these two games do share alot of similarities in terms of gameplay, suing over such a thing will only serve to cause a ripple effect throughout the industry. You always will have games that are released that share many (if not all) of the same gameplay mechanics. Here are just a few examples that share the same amount of similarities in game design that RR and Taxi seem to share.

Doom and Quake and Half-Life and Unreal Tournament…

Grand Theft Auto and True Crime and The Getaway…

Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter and Virtua Fighter and Soul

Metal Gear and Splinter Cell and Thief

etc, etc, etc…

Point is that gameplay design and mechanics are a sort of gray area in terms of copyright. In fact, many, many games share major design similarities with others in thier same genre (sometimes even with games in other genres). In fact, when developers pitch a game to a publisher, it is often helpful to describe the gameplay as “similar to “X” game.” Granted there are some games that come along that have radically unique gameplay design, but those games are few and far between. For the most part any game you play will contain many similarities to other games on the market in terms of how you interact with the characters and environments within the game’s world. The difference is in the details; the presentation and execution of the design in terms of the quality of the artwork and storyline as well as things such as the responsiveness of the controls or the accuracy of the simulation or the intelligence of the AI. I really hope this case is dismissed, because it may set a bad precendent for the future and put many developers and publishers at risk.


The two games has alot of similarities but so does many other games today.
Sega should focus on making a new Crazy Taxi that rock the shit out of the competitors but instead they do something like this… :shrug:


I think it’s good sega taking these lot to court. EA has enough cash as it is and just copying a game from smaller companies just isn’t on. Let’s hope rockstar take ea to court too… If all goes well, the world will be rid of crappy monthly installments of rubbish EA sports games and knock offs.


Shouldn’t the majority of all fighting games be suing each other then? :shrug:

Same premise in each game: side scrolling, 1 on 1, kicking/punching. (yes, i know i dumbed it down)


yeah, and what about this new “3-D effect”… and don’t a couple of games use these “polygons”… I mean come on, no FPS are similar at all right!!!


Well, Fighters History lost to Street Fighter 2, and it might happen with these games. Personaly, I don’t think there a enough similarities, there are quiet a few though. You get a larger selection of characters, holiday charactors, more maps, and a few different rules. However, I can’t remember the gameplay and moves of Road Rage that much. That is probobly a key area, for this type of game.


I’ve played both games -> Crazy Taxi on DC, Simpsons:RR on XBOX.

I had thought that RR must have licensed the engine or something from Sega, such was the extend of similarity between the two games. Exactly the same premise, process, goals, systems, everything. Only smaller details like the physics tuning and obvisouly the visuals were significantly different.

This isn’t just a case of being influenced, or of games in the same genre bearing similarities. It’s plagiarism -> and this approach to design is stifling creativity in the industry. Crazy Taxi was (to my knowledge) the first and only game in this ‘taxi genre’, and everything about it was replicated for Simpsons:Road Rage.

I hope Sega win, and maybe in the process send a little message to all the dev-houses cranking out rehashes of sequals of film franchises, using other people’s ideas and innovations.

rant over.


Sega is in their right, it’s clearly a total copy of crazy taxi. If they patented it, they should go right ahead and sue the living daylights out of the copycats.

This should encourage developers to come up with original ideas. If they wanted crazy taxi with the simsons characters they should simple let Sega make it.


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