NetEase has announced that it is shutting down the servers of its competitive shooter Hyper Front on April 10 following a lawsuit by Riot Games.
The game is being shut down, according to Sportskeeda, after Riot Games’ suit alleged that NetEase's title shared significant similarities with Valorant, the PC version of which was released shortly before Hyper Front entered development. Riot argued that these similarities, including maps, character designs, and weapons, infringed on its intellectual property rights. Although NetEase had attempted to address the issue by redesigning the characters named in the suit, Riot weren’t satisfied that the company had done enough to differentiate the two games.
It's not the only Riot-related lawsuit levied against a Chinese company. In the latter case it's Tencent raising one against Moonton, alleging that their game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, infringes upon the game giant's mobile version of the popular League of Legends MOBA, League of Legends: Wild Rift. Tencent are of course a major investor in Riot Games, explaining their particular interest in aggressively protecting their IP in the Asian market.
NetEase announced the closure on Hyper Front’s official twitter account, writing "We are proud of the community formed around Hyper Front. Thank you all for your support and love during this time and we apologise for the disappointment that this announcement might cause. The figures of every astral who fought in Hyper Front will live on in our hearts, and we'll always remember the good times we spent together."
In order to protect the privacy of users, NetEase will delete the account and character data of users, however this data will be maintained in territories where local laws prevent it from being deleted.
A mobile version of Valorant is currently under development, and is expected to release later this year.
We listed NetEase as the top mobile game maker of 2022.