Recently, the first-instance ruling of Shanghai Youzu Information Technology Co., Ltd. and Walt Disney (China) Co., Ltd. over abuse of dominant market position was released.
The document shows that the plaintiff, Youzu Company, sued that previously, Youzu Company and Disney Company reached a licensing agreement on the cooperative development of themed games related to the “Star Wars” related property rights. During the process of cooperation between the two parties, Disney’s unreasonable delays and other behaviors greatly affected the progress of game development. After Youzu Company overcame the obstacles to release the game as scheduled, Disney Company proposed to terminate the contract on the grounds that Youzu Company did not release the game as scheduled. Disney unilaterally stopped the license of Youzu, which excluded and restricted Youzu’s fair competition in the downstream “Star Wars” game development and distribution market, which is an abuse of its dominant market position and brought huge economic losses to the plaintiff. .
The court held that, according to the “License Agreement” signed between Youzu and Disney, any disputes or claims arising from or related to the implementation of this agreement should be settled through friendly negotiation by both parties; if one party informs the other in writing that there is a If the dispute remains unresolved within fifteen days, the dispute or claim shall be finally resolved by arbitration in Shanghai in accordance with the China International Economic and Trade Commission (CIETAC) Arbitration Rules. Therefore, Youzu Company should apply to an arbitration institution for arbitration. In the end, the court ruled to dismiss the lawsuit of Youzu Company.
In 2019, Youzu was authorized by Disney to develop a derivative mobile game “Star Wars: Galactic Conflict” based on the classic sci-fi IP “Star Wars”. According to information from the National Press and Publication Administration, the game has received a version number on August 6, 2020, but it has not been officially launched.
In fact, the rumors about the cooperation between Youzu and Disney have already been spread. In 2019 ChinaJoy, in order to promote this product, Youzu showed full sincerity, not only held a grand “Star Wars Fan Carnival” on the spot, but also invited the well-known Star Wars “501 Legion” to interact with fans on the spot . It is understood that the Youzu booth at the CJ site this time is also the largest gathering of the Star Wars 501 Legion in Asia.
Moreover, Youzu had planned to hold a press conference on ChinaJoy to announce the “Star Wars: Galactic Conflict” that the two sides cooperated with. At that time, many industry media were invited, but it is strange that the conference was temporarily cancelled for unknown reasons. This made a lot of media flinch directly, and rumors of a rift between Youzu and Disney also spread.
Judging from the published ruling, GameLook is quite puzzled by Disney’s termination of cooperation with Youzu. After all, throughout the past two years, Disney’s attitude towards IP licensing is obviously very open. Not long ago, GameLook just reported that Disney is accelerating the deployment of “Star Wars” IP, and has reached licensing cooperation with a number of game manufacturers. 8 IP derivative products are launched at the same speed, covering 3A-level ARPG, action fighting, shooting and so on.
In addition, Sean Shoptaw, senior vice president of Disney Games, also publicly stated recently, “The Disney IP business is very open. If the development team has that kind of passion (for IP) and excellent creativity, then the size of the studio really doesn’t matter. .”
Not long after Sean Shoptaw’s interview, Disney had just announced a partnership with two independent studios, Dlala and Bithell, who will develop two based on Disney’s “Tron” and “Mickey Mouse” IPs. Derivative PC/console games.
It is not difficult to see that whether it is a big company like Ubisoft and EA, or an independent development team like Dlala and Bithell, Disney basically does not show obvious “picky eaters” in terms of IP licensing objects. This may reflect a feature of Disney’s IP business: that is, Disney has a clear understanding of its own positioning, that is, to give full play to its absolute advantages in IP, and open IP licensing to major manufacturers to “make money while lying down”. Don’t go out in person to do game development that you are not good at.
In other words, normally, the cooperation between Youzu and Disney should be very easy for both parties to see. If the cooperation is successful, it will be a good thing for both parties. But now, this cooperation fell through due to some unknown reasons, and even caused Youzu and Disney to tear their faces, which is a pity.