Sponsored By

Riot Games suing NetEase over alleged Valorant clone Hyper Front

Riot Games claims Hyper Front delivers the "same game experience" as Valorant.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

December 9, 2022

2 Min Read
Valorant artwork

Riot Games has filed a lawsuit against Chinese company NetEase for creating what it claims is a Valorant clone.

As reported by Polygon, Riot alleges that Hyper Front, a five-versus-five, free-to-play mobile shooter created by NetEase, has "extensive similarities" with its own shooter that serves to deliver "the same game experience, look and feel as Valorant but on a mobile device"

Riot believes that by releasing Hyper Front in certain territories, including the United Kingdom, NetEase has infringed upon the copyrights that subsist in Valorant.

Valorant launched in 2020 on Windows PC, and a mobile version is currently in the works. Hyper Front, meanwhile, was rolled out in 2022 on mobile platforms including Android and iOS.

Riot is suing NetEase in countries including the UK, Germany, Brazil, and Singapore, and although each lawsuit differs slightly the issue raised is the same: Riot believes Hyper Front is essentially a cut and paste of Valorant.

In the UK filing, for instance, Riot claims that Hyper Front has mimicked numerous elements of Valorant's design including game modes, hero characteristics, map layouts, weapon design (including magazine capacities, fire rate, and damage output), weapon skins, sound effects, and visual elements including static graphics.

Speaking to Polygon, Riot Games lawyer Dan Nabel said all of the company's creative choices are "mirrored" in Hyper Front.

"We don’t think that changing the color of a character ability or slightly modifying the visual appearance changes the fact that it’s copyright infringement. It’s like that old saying, 'You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig,'" said Nabel.

Nabel added that Riot is taking NetEase to court in multiple countries because "copyright is territorial," noting that laws differ around the world. "We don’t want to rely on one particular market to have this issue resolved," Nabel continued. "NetEase is a global publisher, as are we. We want them to know that we take the matter very seriously."

Riot is seeking an injunction that would restrain NetEase from infringing on Valorant's copyrights, essentially shutting down the Hyper Front, and an inquiry to determine whether the Chinese company should have to pay damages. You can read the full lawsuit over on Scribd.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like