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“DJ Hero” in hot water

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Back in March, we mentioned how DJ Hero is supposed to be Activision’s response to Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Today, it might be more accurate to say DJ Hero was supposed to be Activision’s response to Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

According to Paid Content, Activision and 7 Studios, the game’s developer, are being sued by gaming companies Genius Products and Numark Industries for “intentional interference with contract, breach of contract, conversion and misappropriation of trade secrets.”

What does this mean? Well, basically Genius and Numark claim that Activision approached Genius about acquiring the rights to a Genius game called Scratch: The Ultimate DJ. With a premise similar to DJ Hero’s, Scratch features tracks by the likes of Kanye West, The Beastie Boys, and Run-DMC and is developed by rap industry vet Quincy Jones II. When Genius declined Activision’s offer, Activision went to the game’s source: They purchased 7 Studios, which was under contract to develop Scratch. Genius and Numark claim 7 Studios violated terms of their contract, including non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, by working with Activision on such a similar game. Activision is accused of withholding code and Scratch’s turntable controller to delay Stratch‘s release and, consequently, buy DJ Hero some time.

To put Genius’ claim of “substantial damage” into perspective: According to Rolling Stone‘s Rock Daily, Rock Band made over $1 billion dollars last year – with full albums like Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy and a Beatles version coming soon. As music-themed video games get more specialized, the competition is only getting fiercer, and Genius is just trying to get ahead.

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