America’s highly factionalised games development industry has drawn further lines of division with two of its biggest studios disputing the proposed trademark of a common game term.
Blizzard Entertainment, Activision’s global-leading money-generator of World Of Warcraft fame, has publicly criticised Valve for its bid to trademark the DOTA name in its upcoming title, DOTA 2.
What is now a disagreement could quickly plunge into a legal dispute, with both Valve and Blizzard planning to release games with the DOTA name while Valve looks to trademark the name for itself.
Rob Pardo, the executive VP game design at Blizzard Entertainment, told Eurogamer that Valve’s attempt to trademark DOTA "doesn’t seem the right thing to do".
DOTA is common description of a popular online gametype, though also the abbreviation of an existing game, Defence of the Ancients.
Defence of the Ancients broke onto the scene as a mod to Blizzard’s Warcraft III. Valve hired a number of that mod team – in keeping with its community focused roots – and is in the process of developing DOTA 2 with its Source engine.
Earlier in the year, Valve filed a trademark registration for DOTA.
Pardo criticised the move: "To us, that means that you’re really taking [DOTA] away from the Blizzard and Warcraft III community and that just doesn’t seem the right thing to do.”
Blizzard, he believes, retains the right to use the name in its free StarCraft II mod, Blizzard DOTA, which was announced over the weekend at BlizzCon.
"Valve is usually so pro mod community. It’s such a community company that it just seems like a really strange move to us… I really don’t understand why [they would do it], to be honest," Pardo added.