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No more Netrunner


#41

You can copywrite mechanics.

WotC had this with Hex recently over its similarity to MTG.


#42

I am very sure that this was not part of the plan. They had way too much invested into the future of the game.


#43

Yes, I think it’s the Netrunner trademark and terminology, just as you say.

If they were very careful, they could probably make a game with similar mechanisms, as long as they changed what everything was called.

But honestly, would you want to play that at this point? I wouldn’t.
(And no, I don’t want to play WOTC Netrunner TCG either!)


#44

I mean its thematic to have our hobby killed between a licensing agreement between two megacorps who couldn’t figure out where the money line made sense.

I’m crushed, I’ll miss this community mostly, ya’ll are great.


#45

This was my thought as well. I read the news and was sad for sure, but not really feeling too devastated, after all there will be other card/board games and it’s nice to try other hobbies from time to time.

I just watched @ErikTwice 's video from the other thread and it got me thinking about how Netrunner was also the thing that “got me out of the house” after getting out of school and not having much of a personal life. The feeling of losing this community is infinitely worse than losing a children’s card game.

Thanks to everyone I’ve met in person, played on Jnet with, shared a beer with at KoS, and shook hands with after swiss rounds. I love all you guys.


#46

There is the possibility the game will continue unofficially.

Though it would need a central hub to work from. Preferably something that already has an established community…


#47

The game might go OOP but that doesn’t mean that the community will die. There are still people playing Decipher’s card games, and their Star Wars CCG is 15 years out of print. Sure, it helped that the player’s committee was officially blessed by Decipher as part of the wrap-up, but that’s not necessary. Look at Conquest.


#48

Well shit, I have to go to worlds this year.

There’s a lot of cards in the imaginary cards thread that could be made into real ones and hey, now there’s no officiality to keep it down!

I’m having so many thoughts about the end of netrunner, it’s best to just freak out and scatter them all around.

Fffffffffff

Well, there’s always limited formats and draft. I hope draft becomes more of a thing, it’ll be the future of netrunner if we want it to be.

Sad face.


#49

Holy shit. This was the one. This was the card game that had all the complexity in all the right places. Never before have i seen a game with such freedom of design space and respect for the player in forcing them to adapt to a wide variety of probabalistic gameplans.

I wish i could have been here from the beginning, but I’ll be at worlds to see it end with all of you. It’s been a pleasure.


#50

Man, this hits me hard. I’ve lapsed from Netrunner within recent memory due to the lack players in the nearby area. It hurts me as I still care about this game and community. The worst part is I don’t see WotC being able to capture quite the same feeling of Wonder, Strategy, and Inclusivity that I get from playing the game. Man, I might do something crazy. Up my game, and take my vacation time in September this year to see that this game goes out with a bang.


#51

This is really confusing to me, as a registered European and UK patent attorney.

The FFG jacking out article calls it a “mechanics license”. The relevant intellectual property right for card game mechanics is patents. You can patent game mechanics, but it isn’t done very often (you can find some Andrew Looney US patents to game components and mechanics if you go look for them). Unless they’ve registered it under an unusual name, I cannot find a WotC patent to anything related to Netrunner. So that’s out.

So, trademarks. There were several registered US trademarks to “Netrunner” assigned to WotC, but they’ve been expired for years. I’m not a US attorney so I’m not going to pretend to know anything about the laws of unregistered marks, but it seems odd to not have a registered right if there’s a license agreement around the use of that right.

Which leaves copyright. Copyright would cover literal card text, but not the mechanics covered by that text. I don’t know the US case law around copyright in single words, but it would be extremely shaky in the EU.

So my best guess about the agreement is that it was a bespoke contract rather than any license of IP rights, because I don’t think there’s much relevant IP, in the legal sense, at issue here (with clauses about who owns the copyright in the card text and art, as Netrunner cards have WotC and FFG copyright notices on them). I have absolutely no idea how enforceable a contract that says “you’re not allowed to use these game mechanics that we don’t actually have IP protection for in any way shape or form after this expires” because I’m not a US contract lawyer but… it sounds pretty flimsy to me.

If you’re thinking “well I’m sure FFG would know their rights here”: I have worked with much, much bigger companies than FFG who have had absolutely no clue about this side of things, so it’s certainly not an assumption that I’m making.


#52

One thing I’ve never understood about how the game is played is why all meetups seem to default to standard. If you have a complete card pool then you have the means to a huge variety of potential formats. Core, core + deluxes, core + cycle of choice, standard but ban the four most powerful ids on each side, limited id choice, ones, etc. Surely there must be enough permutations to keep the game interesting for a good while to come.


#53

It is not a matter of rights, per se.

Legally speaking, there’s nothing preventing FFG from cloning not just Netrunner but any game. They could release Geomorphing Mars, Farm Building and Spell: The Cabal and so on. However, if everyone started doing so, the whole market would crash and collapse so game companies follow a gentleman’s agreement of respecting each other’s games and designs.


#54

Honestly, this game means a lot to me. I’ve met so many friends in the community, and even FFG came out and said “Hey, we’re renegotiating the rights, so it’ll be at least a year+ for a new Netrunner release”. I would most likely grumble, and be ok with it. Even though I wasn’t actively playing, I wouldn’t turn a game down if someone offered. I just don’t want this version of Netrunner to end.


#55

Will NetrunnerDB, Stimhack and Jinteki.net remain at the service of the community after ANR officially ends? I think these three hubs are of central importance for any possible community continuation of the game, without them it would be extremely hard to go on.


#56

I really hope so. And it’s not just the community. Look, I’l be honest. Android: Netrunner is one of the best games ever made. Losing these sites would be a massive blow. I hope they keep supporting them.


#57

My own feeling is that, even if the legal agreement is a bit flimsy, there are still good business reasons to respect it. Firstly, the legal costs of taking on WotC would be huge. But, more importantly, it sends a terrible message to their other licensors, and I doubt FFG give anywhere near enough of a shit about Netrunner to risk jeopardising the Star Wars and Middle Earth licenses.


#58

Netrunner is different to Star Wars, Middle Earth and Game of Thrones in that much of the background material; the universe and the terminology, is not something that was created by WotC, or perhaps even copyrighted by them. ‘Android’ is an FFG universe. Many of the Netrunner terms were from elsewhere ( Neuromancer for the most part, so i’m told ) and have been used elsewhere, and/or are generic. I know that the terms ‘ICE’ and ‘Barrier’ as a type of ICE have been used in the Babylon 5 TV series for example. As for mechanics, FFG updated those to some extent, and … well i think that some of the mechanics of ANR could do with some changes. Nothing drastic, but i think some tinkering here and there would do wonders. From the outside i’m starting to wonder what exactly WotC brought to the table, if anything. I’m even starting to wonder if FFG ever needed WotC at all.

Also, as i recall, correct me if i’m wrong, wasn’t Michael Boggs rumoured to be creating his own card game before he got hired by FFG? I also suspect there are a lot of cards that were fully or partly designed and waiting in the wings for a cycle or deluxe to put them into, including perhaps, and also in anycase rewritten versions of those cards that didn’t quite work in one way or another first time around. There could be a lot of material sitting there at FFG.

I also noticed that Lukas Litzsinger was hired by WotC about 8 months ago.

I’ll be keeping my eye on WotC and FFG with interest to see if each of them come out with something and what they come out with. My money is probably for FFG, though i’m not sure who it’s on.

“Android: Netrunner and its Organized Play may be coming to an end, but all true fans know there are plenty of ways to bypass or break an “End the run” subroutine.” ( https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2018/6/8/android-magnum-opus/ )


#59

Sad times indeed. Just when things were looking up and i was starting to enjoy playing again. I can’t help but feel that perhaps FFG encroaching on WoTCs market space with Destiny had a part in them either raising the licencing costs or simply pulling it completely. It’s has a similar feeling to when they lost the GW licence shortly after committing to produce miniature wargames.
I honestly can’t see the sense in them claiming it back for commercial reasons. The fan base is relatively niche compared to their other products. I’m calling Punitive…


#60

The main possibilities are:

  1. The offer remained in place and the same (possibly inflation adjusted) and it was decided not to be profitable enough.
  2. The offer remained in place, but the cost was increased significantly, to the point it became unprofitable, or more of a risk.
  3. The offer was adjusted to force a significantly longer contract, which was considered to high a risk.
  4. A combination of the 2 and 3.
  5. The offer was pulled by WotC.

WotC would increase the cost of licencing if they believed it was genuinely worth more, or they wanted to increase costs of licencing across the board. Making an exception would be a bad precedent.

WotC might pull the licence completely if they believed it was encroaching on their current IP (directly taking sales away from them), if they wanted to do something with that IP (relaunch their own, possibly original setting Netrunner), or if they were sanctioning FFG/Asmodee(sp?) for other actions they’d taken, as TanukiD describes.