Gaming LawThe games industry has been continually growing in the past years. According to a current study from the G.A.M.E Association Germany is the largest gaming market in Europe and generates approximately 5.5% of the world revenue in this sector. With a total revenue of approximately 2.6 billion Euros the future potential of the game market is not to be overlooked. Video games have become extremely popular in Germany in the past years. “Social Gaming”, e.g. on Facebook has played a considerable role in that, but also gaming on smartphones. Just like the PC and mobile telephone market before this the gaming market is characterized by innovative productions that are no longer only consumed by young people.
The lone video gamer of the past has quickly disappeared. The gamer of today uses the whole range of available end devices and mostly plays online with console games, as well as tablet, smartphone and PC-games. The sharing of game experiences with other gamers online („Let’s Play“) is becoming more and more popular. The revenues achieved with online games in the meantime form 50% of the gaming market in Germany. Every day more and more players meet one another on the simulated playing areas on the Internet. Also multi-user computer games and video games for established game systems, like for example Xbox Live, Playstation Home, Steam or Origin, offer totally new possibilities of interactive communication as Internet games. And with larger screens on current smartphones and other “handhelds” a gaming experience is made possible, that was only possible on a PC in earlier times. With the growth of “digital gaming”, gaming law itself has also developed, which does not yet represent an independent area of law in Germany. Gaming law brings together the most different areas of law, e.g. copyright law, software law, license law, trademark law, Internet law, publishing law and with cinema-similar productions for console games becoming more and more standard also media law. In-game advertising, which is not only to be found in free-to-play games and with which advertising customized to gamer profiles can be superimposed onto the game happenings and which in the meantime has become an integral part of mobile games, also raises new legal questions. With the fast growth of the gaming industry and its expansion into new media, new legal questions are being continually raised that have to be clarified as a preventive measure in order to avoid as well as possible legal disputes that obstruct marketing.
In this highly creative area the cooperation of the game developers and the publishers is of decisive importance for the success of the business. Data protection and in particular the in-game recording of personal gamer data is already now gaining more and more importance and this will further increase with the EU General Data Protection Regulation taking legal effect.. At the same time the rights to the works of third parties necessary for a worldwide evaluation of the games are to be secured – like for example musical works that are included in the games. And it is not of lesser significant to regulate the rights given to gamers in EULAs (End-User License Agreements) that are as secure against dissuasion and court cases as best possible. Not only practical experience in the right application of the regulations of youth protection and consumer law rights is significant but also the new aspects of the regulations of games offerings and keeping an eye on the development of the current jurisdiction.
For his work in gaming Law Dr Andreas Leupold LL.M. was awarded in 2014 with the Corp. Intl. Global Awards Winner of the Year Award 2014 Gaming Law Firm of the Year Germany.