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How Video Game Makers Build a Better SF, Pixel by Pixel

December 23, 2016

Fenwick litigation partner Eric Ball was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle article “How Video Game Makers Build a Better SF, Pixel by Pixel​” (subscription required) looking at how video game developers are replicating San Francisco in console and arcade games.

The Chronicle talked to Ball about how legal issues can prevent video game makers from perfectly replicating San Francisco in their games, even though laws surrounding accurate city buildings generally favor game companies.

Ball told the Chronicle that game companies, like movie houses, can often recreate what is in public view. As one example, the game “Watch Dogs 2” features a completed version of the still-under-construction Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.

Ball added that game developers, though, should consider permission to replicate the insides of buildings, even if they are portrayed accurately. Games that have replicated the interiors of San Francisco buildings — like the Metreon in the 2005 game “Jet Li’s Rise of Honor” — agreed to a deal beforehand.