Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The "Interview"


That is the date I asked for an interview concerning their recent lawsuit against
NCSoft, creator of such gems as City of Heroes and Guild Wars. This was the pipe dream of an aspiring writer/journalist wanting to try to do a somewhat important interview. I didn't expect to get it, and I told some of my blog friends (Such as Tipa of and OpenEdge1 at Simple and Complex.) about me sending out the email.


The date that Thom
Kidrin, the CEO of answered my sally at fame. His answer?


I welcome your questions and to the extent I can provide answers to them I will.

You can post my email but I would also like to review your website.


The next day I started to send out my questions to Thom. To be kind, my first question was the typical "Tell me a little about your company, what you do, etc". Immediately following that was a series of questions relating to the actual lawsuit, what thought about the outrage towards them from the online community, and other such tidbits. I'll list a few of the questions I had..

Question 3. No sense in ignoring the huge elephant in the room so let's discuss your lawsuit with NCSoft. A question on a lot of gamer's minds are why is starting the lawsuit now. The two patents that have been infringed upon, if I'm reading them correctly, have been for infringed upon for several years by different companies. Yet it wasn't until near the end of 2008 that took legal action. Why?

Question 4. Another question I'm hearing on blogs, forums, and news websites are "why NCSoft?". Was there something in particular that made choose that company over other companies?

These are obviously the questions that I, and a lot of people I've spoke to on forums and blogs, want the answers to. These questions, and quite a bit more, were sent out on 01/06/09. The only answer I've received from him is the answer to the very first question, the "shameless self advertisement" one. Not that I'm above shameless self advertisement, but I generally try to provide entertainment too, or at least information.

So what to do?

I'm going to release the information that I have on hand of course. Why? Because some of my answers are within what he gave me, if you move it underneath the monocle.

In 1994 Worlds was spun out of Bill Gross's Knowledge Adventure; an educational software publisher that grew to be the third largest educational software publisher in the world and was initially know as Knowledge Adventure Worlds. Titles included; Dinosaurs 3D, 3D Body and Undersea Adventure. When Worlds Chat was launched in April 1995 the company name was changed to Worlds Inc.

Worlds partnered with Steven Spielberg,
Starbright Foundation, Sprint, UB Networks, Tandem, and Intel to create an avatar virtual world for kids confined to hospitals, Starbright World. The worlds came online at five pediatric hospitals in the United States in late 1995. Patent 6219045 was filed on November 13,1995.

In 1996-97 under contract Worlds developed private worlds for IBM, Visa, MGM, Sony and Disney.

In 1996 we also launched Alpha Worlds now known as Active Worlds which had everything that Second Life now does.

Worlds Inc. was acquired by Worlds Acquisition Corporation in Nov 1997 and changed the name to

Between 1998 and 2001 Worlds developed and launched the following worlds in revenue sharing partnerships with the following brands:

Universal Pictures Animal House,
Polygram, Hanson, David Bowie, NY Yankees, British Telecom, World Wrestling Federation, Aerosmith and Coca Cola China.

Across all our 3D Worlds network our registered user base reached over 1,000,000 by the end of 2001.

On August 3, 2000 Worlds filed additional claims as a continuance to our 1995 patent 6219045 which resulted in patent 7,181,690 issued on February 20, 2007.

In June 2001 Worlds terminated all full time employees as a result of the .com bust and resulting
Internet market meltdown. The company continued to maintain its service as well as continued software development on an as needed basis and under contract licenses.

During the intervening years there have been thousands of user created worlds and Avatars developed using Worlds tools and hosted on the members
PC's. This user created content has been an experiment in organic growth and the sharing of virtual construction between thousands of Worlds users. This user created content on Worlds Peer-to-Peer 3D network now has hundreds of private user worlds

In September 2007 Worlds began a restructure which entailed a new Board to bring the company back into SEC compliance and to upgrading the core technology platform.

November 2007 Worlds signs a private development agreement with MTV.

July 7, 2008 Worlds signed Rapper
DMC of Run DMC to develop DMC World set to launch early 2009.

December 11, 2008 Worlds retained Lerner David
Littenberg Krumholz & Mentlik LLP (LDLKM), to enforce Worlds' patents.

December 24, 2008 Lerner David
Littenberg Krumholz & Mentlik LLP files patent enforcement action against NC Soft on behalf of Worlds.
Isn't this interesting? In 2001 terminated all their full-time employees during the .com bust THEN they began reconstruction in 2007. Perhaps I'm being too cynical here, but why is the picture of an innocent company suddenly finding itself in the grip of an evil tyrant in my head? Ok, what I'm getting at is this...

Why suddenly sue companies that have been infringing upon your patents when you could have done this prior to now? Why after 6 years from it's collapse did the company suddenly begin to reconstruct itself and
establish a new Board? I know I'm leading, please forgive me, I'll stop being subtle.

What if didn't WANT/CARE to sue prior to this? What if was reconstructed for the sole purpose of this lawsuit? I know that what I'm saying is very conspiracy
theroy-ish, but hear me out. The patent they filed wasn't official until Feburary 20th, 2007. A few months after that they began to renew their company and then over a year later the infamous lawsuit between NCSoft and was born.

So why
NCsoft? It's simple. NCsoft is the weak member of the herd at the moment for this type of action for two reasons. One is the downfall of Tabula Rasa, and the other is the fact NCSoft is a Korean company. Now why does that fact matter? Here is an excellent quote from

"Being a foreign defendant in Texas is not a pleasant thing," he said of NCsoft, which is primarily a Korean company. "The juries are, many would say, biased towards American plaintiffs and have a propensity to offer high damages. Some defendants might view them as an unfriendly jury and it might make the defendant more likely to settle."

Many observers have speculated that since's patent was only granted in 2007 and filed in 2000, there may be too many examples of prior art, including NCsoft's own games, for the patent to stand. Roth explained that the patent itself is actually continued on from a much earlier filing date, November 13, 1995, putting it ahead of NCsoft's founding in 1997.

I rest my bloody case. I wanted to be neutral in this matter with, I wanted to try to be a good "journalist". However I can't stop feeling somewhat dirty for even offering the chance for to give their side of the story. So while I do apologize to all of you that I couldn't get the answer from the mouth of as I had promised, I hope you found this article somewhat enlightening and entertaining.

My discussion for today? What do you think of this lawsuit? Who do you side for if anyone? Leave some comments and let's discuss shall we? Now excuse me while I take a bath.


  1. Wow, that's some nice ground work. If it's indeed true, then are really evil. I guess if they could win against NCSoft, then their chances of taking the other mega corps down would be far greater. I hope they don't succeed. It could seriously damage the industry.

  2. trying to take Ncsoft down? I don't think anyone would want to do that for many reasons, namely the bad publicity and alienating the massive user base. All i can see doing is gaining some income from licensing agreements, this shouldn't if set at a reasonable rate effect many people, and surly not the users of the software.

    Quote "Why after 6 years from it's collapse did the company suddenly begin to reconstruct itself and establish a new Board? end quote....

    maybe there were financial restraints as well as the patent not being issued till late 2007 itself. As for waiting for a year I think they just needed a board and some financial backing to be able to issue the first lawsuit.

    khz / Tony

  3. Well, it's in the court's hands now. I just hope they can make the right decision. TBH the american legal system is pretty good, and I actually do trust them to make the right decision (even in Texas). If doesn't have a case, then they won't win. Sucks for NC Soft getting its time wasted though, I'm sure those corporate lawyers don't come cheap either.

    Great work Danshir, you're amazing!

  4. "..What if was reconstructed for the sole purpose of this lawsuit?"

    The patent wasn't issued until late 2007, it was issued in Feb. 20th 2007 of that year, which would be considered early. Now somewhat late in company started to rebuild itself.

    Sorry, but the timing all points to one thing.

    I also never mentioned taking NCSoft down. I simply mentioned the possible reasons why NCsoft was chosen first. As for the "..bad publicity and alienating the massive user base" that's already been done. Even people who don't play a game by NCsoft detests for being a supposed patent "Troll".

  5. The most disturbing idea about this is the possibility of small companies winning against MMO companies for infringement. I recall a case of a Chinese company suing blizzard over a type font they claimed was blatantly plagiarized from them. The sum in question was a month of wow subscription revenue.

    I'm not one to say MMO companies shouldn't be held accountable if and when they error, but this is a case of shameless extortion on false claims.

    By the way, thank you for following my blog. I feel honored that you enjoy it, despite it not being an MMO centric journal.

  6. I read it, I enjoyed it, I follow it. Though I'm surprised you think my site is worthy of the attention, I appreciate it.

  7. Well Danshir, after reading all that shit from the guy, I too, will be taking a bath... I had to get my boots and high waters out due to that being a massive amount of shit getting deep lol. I foresee NCSoft pwning

  8. has been operating at a loss for years recieving no income from users of any count. Most memberships being handed out free at internal contests between the few remaining members. during this period millions of dollars worth of debt were eventually 'forgiven' under statues of linitation and accounted as income ( just see the filings on any reasonable stocks site).

    A couple of years ago the board was joined by directors with experience in off shore and on line gambling and were further joined by a new buisness shark from google at no pay but 150,000 shares plus 100,000 per year. Whilst the share price languishes at or about 20 cents this may not seem much, but given therefore the potential rise it could well be an attractive remuneration for guiding a prementive land grab across the virtual universe.

    Clearly the 'game' hass been operating at a substantial loss for years, the only reason to protect the patent.

    It is fairly clear that with debts written off and calculating gamblers on board with a decent business brain recently added that they feel able to pitch for the pot.

    Cynical? most asuredly so.
    Moraly Just? most asuredly not.
    Typical Banksters attempt at gaining money for nothing .... I would say yes.

    ( Note all financial, personel and stock information is freely available, including insider dealings via the many stocks and shares web sites that also route through to SEC filings).


The MMO Experience © 2008 Template by: