Today, Amazon Inc. announced an historic landmark with their acquisition of CCP Games. Their purchase is for an undisclosed sum solely for the rights to various minor “automation related” patents.
Traditionally, this sort of multi-million dollar buyout is associated with services such as OnLive, which was bought out in its entirety and shut down by Sony merely to obtain a minor patent on remotely accessed PC’s for a single use. Robert California, Senior Technical Advisor of Amazon went on to state that the landmark sale of a company with only one successful title was “only a big deal if you make it” and twice appeared confused with the questions regarding CCP Games’ game, EVE ONLINE.
“I don’t know anything about that,” Robert was quoted as saying. “All I know is the bots we were shown are so good that we couldn’t tell the difference between real people and bots. We just had to have it.” This caused a minor uproar among the press, but only among the few that actually knew the game itself. Considered a niche title, the inner workings of EVE ONLINE are wildly complex on their own.
Regardless, Mr. California had little to say about the property that Amazon was to establish full control over. When asked about availability of EVE on gaming services such as Amazon’s, he simply shook his head, and shrugged. “Again I don’t know anything about that, we just want the bots. We’ll probably just shut [the game] down or something.” As for the patents Amazon obtained: “it’s a legal issue and saves millions in potential lawsuits, cuts the patent trolls out early, and establishes a beachhead for the coming robotics revolution.” Acknowledging Amazon’s push towards full automation of its workforce is a rare but relatively well known part of their business model.
At the time of writing, Amazon has already been hit with two lawsuits: One from an imaginary company called “red frog” which claims its automation is a “trade secret”, and is demanding damages as well as “their fair share of the sale.” The other suit is merely a class action filing against Amazon/CCP with claims that players who “own or rent” digital space are entitled to compensation for losses with the sale potentially limiting their automation abilities within “null sec” (player owned space). CCP argues that at no time did they imply or agree that the digital space was actually owned by anyone other than CCP itself. This raises legal questions as to just who owns made up fantasyland and just what is ownership of international space.
Experts agree that, should CCP win and declare all of space already owned by them and the act of claiming space is merely “leasing”, it opens the door for commercialization of space in ways that international oversight didn’t foresee.
We reached out to CCP for comment, though with the possibility of a multi million cash-out for the closeted developer, he seems to be making no real attempts at work. He did state that he would “put up a big ass billboard in space or something” if CCP should win the lawsuit in their favor.