From the frivolous lawsuit department: The folks behind Worlds.com are looking to sue the likes of World of Warcraft and Second Life for infringing on one of their longstanding patents that covers “virtual worlds” or somesuch. While that may seem pretty ludicrous, keep in mind that a similar lawsuits, against City of Heroes‘ NCSoft, was filed in a plaintiff-friendly district in Texas. Best case scenario for the Worlds.com folks is that Activision Blizzard and Co. have to license “virtual worlds” as an already-patented concept from them, which would means serious money.
Worlds.com comes to us by way of a 1997 virtual world for sick children called Starbright World; Steven Spielberg was part of all of this. Because of the sensitive nature of the subject—a virtual world for kids too sick to enjoy the real world—Starbright was never really well-publicized. But it existed, so there!
And since Worlds.com now owns all the patents related to the infrastructure of said virtual world, they now think they should be paid.
I’ll tell you what: if anything comes of this I’ll let you know. Otherwise, just keep yourself busy with your GameBoy Color or something.