So I’m thinking of suing Activision. I figured that since everyone else is doing it, the company might not notice and just send me a check to avoid the hassle. I’ll just go for something small like $250 and claim that since I played air guitar to Appetite for Destruction back in ’87 — thus simulating a rock concert — I came up with the idea for Guitar Hero.
Earlier this week, Harmonix (owned by Viacom) withdrew a suit against Activision claiming that Activision never ponied up for some $14.5 million worth of royalties it owed Harmonix. The threat of the lawsuit was apparently strong enough to move Activision to settle out of court, so the suit was withdrawn.
Now Gibson, the company that licenses guitar designs to Activision for use in the Guitar Hero games, is suing on the basis that it (Gibson) came up with an idea similar to Guitar Hero that it patented back in 1999.
The abstract of the patent reads as follows,
A musician can simulate participation in a concert by playing a musical instrument and wearing a head-mounted 3D display that includes stereo speakers. Audio and video portions of a musical concert are pre-recorded, along with a separate sound track corresponding to the musical instrument played by the musician. Playback of the instrument sound track is controlled by signals generated in the musical instrument and transmitted to a system interface box connected to the audio-video play back device, an audio mixer, and the head-mounted display. An external bypass switch allows the musician to suppress the instrument sound track so that the sounds created by actual playing of the musical instrument are heard along with the pre-recorded audio and video portions.
I’ll give Gibson half credit because the separate musical tracks idea is there, but there’s no mention of a scoring system or a game-like experience. Also, Guitar Hero’s been out long enough that this suit should have been brought forward quite some time ago.
What’s more, apparently Konami had a game back in 1999 called Guitar Freaks that basically used a musical pairing system similar to how Guitar Hero is controlled and Activision’s apparently licensed a bunch of patents from Konami.