iF-22 Raptor "Cease and Desist"
In May of 1997, NovaLogic sent Interactive Magic a "cease and desist" letter to prevent them from shipping their iF-22 Raptor game in June of 1997. Both of Novalogic, Interactive Magic, and perhaps some other companies have applied for rights to us the name "F-22 Raptor" and this issue will not be resolved for quite some time.
There is a much larger issue at hand, however. A second "cease and desist" letter was sent to Interactive Magic from Lockheed Martin, which explains that NovaLogic is attempting to secure exclusive rights to information about the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor as well as other Lockheed Martin aircraft. In a recent website statement, NovaLogic outlines that they are "in discussions with them (Lockheed Martin) regarding EXCLUSIVE ACCESS to their technical consulting and other proprietary assets".
Interactive Magic in a recent statement expressed their concern, "We strongly oppose this effort and believe all computer game companies should have free and open access to all public information about U.S. taxpayer funded aircraft, vehicles, and military equipment. Can you imagine a day when only one exclusive computer game company could create a simulation of each new military aircraft? Basically, it could end competition in our industry. We have created a forum for gamers to express their opinion on this issue and hope you will visit the site to learn more about this important issue."
Interactive Magic has called on NovaLogic to support their "Customer Protection Pledge" to let gamers know that they will halt their efforts to secure exclusive rights to the F-22 Raptor as well as other aircraft. As of this time we are unaware of any response or retraction by Novalogic on this issue. The licensing of military aircraft is sure to polarize many gamers and game producers on this issue. While the game companies and plane companies will have their first dedication to the bottom line and not the gamer.
If Novalogic obtained exclusive rights to certain military aircraft, it would prevent other companies from competing in this area and would severely limit the number of games of similar type that gamers could play. The trade restrictions seem secondary to the effect that these actions would have on gamers. A game without an essential aircraft would severely limit the number of games available and the variety of rules. Combine this with the fact that most heavily licensed games are dogs, with some notable exceptions. This move by Novalogic and Lockheed Martin at first blush appears to be bad for anyone who buys games.
What if you do not like the Novalogic game as much as the Interactive Magic one, you will be denied the right to play the way you want to. What if the Novalogic game will not work in your machine, what impetus will Novalogic have to correct the problem for a few disgruntled gamers who will no longer be able to play with the plane at all. Games which use the F-22 and other licensed planes, such as Advanced Tactical Fighers 97 which uses the F-22 in its game line up, will have to pull the games off of store shelves or take the licensed planes out of the game. The effect is clearly not good for gamers.
This is not the first incident of exclusive rights, however. In sports simulations, licenses are bought and sold which also leads to very difficult times for gamers. For example, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley cannot be found in NBA LIve 97, but you can see Shaquille O'Neil there and only there. Gamers can download files from independent web sites to enhance the games but the likenesses and nuances of stance and voice are not present. It would be much better if everyone had access to these statistics, but then it would prevent people like Dennis Rodman from making obscene incomes on licensing. And that is something we cannot allow.
Interactive Magic's iF-22 Forum is located at...
Novalogic's website is found at...
More information about this debate can be found at...