The Pokémon Company is suing six Chinese companies over a mobile game that shares stark similarites to the Pokémon franchise itself, citing copyright infringement and unfair competition behaviour, as reported by South China Morning Post (thanks, GamesIndustry,biz).
The Japanese giant, owned by Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures, is seeking damages of 500 million yuan (US$72.5 million) and requesting that the offending companies issue public apologies on Chinese websites and mobile apps. Naturally, it is also demanding that the game in question - Pocket Monster Reissue, or Koudaiyaoguai Fuke in Chinese - be removed from sale alongside all promotional material.
Taking one look at the screenshot below (courtesy of SCMP), you can see why The Pokémon Company has taken these measures. To say the mobile title shares similartiies with Pokémon is perhaps an understatement in itself; the image clearly shows actual key art from Pokémon, including Ask Ketchum, Pikachu, Tepig, and Oshawott.
Since some Pokémon games aren't available officially in mainland China, Pocket Monster Reissue's similarities have been discussed at length within the public, which likely led to the matter being brought to The Pokémon Company's attention. The game itself has been available since 2015, with revenue apparently exceeding 300 million yuan by 2016, with monthly turnover exceeding 30 million yuan. You can certainly understand why The Pokémon Company wants to put a stop to it.
It's not the first time a mobile game has been accused of infringing upon copyright laws. Just recently, none other than ex-Nintendo dev Takaya Imamura discovered that images from his 3DS title Steel Diver: Sub Wars was being used to promote a mobile game without permission from Nintendo.
What do you make of this whole affair? Share your thoughts in the usual place.