Sony Fails to Get Trademark for ‘Let’s Play’

A couple of weeks ago, the gaming world went into a bit of a shock with the reveal that Sony was trying to trademark the term ‘Let’s Play’, a commonly used name for video and screenshot walkthroughs of video games that can be found on sites like Youtube.  Would this destroy the community?  Would all Youtube LPers have to pay money to Sony to use a term that was created by (and for) the gamers?

Well, it turns out the answer to that is no; the trademark has been rejected.  What’s more, the US Patent and Trademark Office did their research on this one, rejecting the trademark because it’s a ‘generic term’ that’s descriptive in nature.  In other words, because everyone online already uses it for these videos and screenshot articles, and it’s not uniquely used to refer to Sony’s products.

In their own words:

Sony trademark refusal

Or in pure text form:

As shown in the attached evidence, the term ‘Let’s Play’ used in connection with video games refers to ‘a video, or less commonly, a series of screenshots, documenting a playthrough of a video game, almost always including commentary by the gamer’ and ‘Let’s Play’ (sometimes called Learn to Play); One or more people that record themselves playing video games through screenshots or captured video (Mostly the latter).’  This phrase merely describes applicant’s services because applicant would stream Let’s Play’ videos.

Accordingly, registration is refused under Trademark Act Section 2(e)(1)

Either way, it’s now dead and (likely) buried, and we won’t have to fear Sony trying to take over our Let’s Play videos and channels any time soon.  Thank god someone at the USPTO saw some sense here.

And additional thanks to Gaming Reinvented commenter Ferigeras for pointing out the update, as well as The McArthur Law Firm documenting all this on the blog.


Let’s Play” securely in the public domain as USPTO rejects Sony’s trademark bid as “merely descriptive – The McArthur Law Firm

Left 4 Dead 3 Rumoured to be Released Next Year

What’s more, there are some interesting details in this rumour as well, like the four characters being called Katherine, Irvin (a gangster), Keenan (a comic book nerd) and Garrett Jr (a Kenpo fighter).  It will also apparently have six campaigns (called No Mercy, Cliff-Hanger, Early Destination, Crashland, Impasse and Inquisitor Land), as well as be released on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

Above: A trailer for the second game, which the third game will presumably take after.

Oh, and something about Half Life 3.  Apparently Valve has decided to put Half Life 3 on hold for this game, which is sure to annoy a lot of people…

So is it real?  Well to be honest, we’re not entirely convinced.  For starters, the source is an article or two in the Daily Express, a UK newspaper that’s seen as on the same level as the Daily Mail.  That’s not exactly the most reputable of publications, and the fact it’s not even a gaming one makes it all the more suspicious.  Why would anyone report this sort of news to a fairly average UK tabloid without much of a connection to the gaming world?

Source aside, we’re also not entirely sure who’d be making the game.  Oh sure, Valve owns the series.  but it’s actually Turtle Rock Studios who were the developers of the first two games, and they’re clearly said that they’re not going to be working on a third title.  Are Valve taking the game inhouse?  Is it being farmed out to another random studio without much knowledge of the franchise?  None of these are made clear in the reports.

It also makes us wonder whether this game could be seeing a Nintendo NX release, if the rumours about it are true.  After all, the NX is coming out in either 2016 or 2017, and a couple of games from Valve on a Nintendo system would certainly help boost its reputation with more ‘hardcore’ gamers.  Perhaps the talk about it being on Xbox One, PS4 and PC might not be the whole story…

But what do you think?  Is there a chance that Left 4 Dead 3 will be released in 2017?  And if so, will its content reflect the rumours posted by the Daily Express?


Daily Express Article about Left 4 Dead 3

Sony is Trying to Trademark The Term Let’s Play?

No, we’re not making this up.  Sony has recently filed a trademark request for the term ‘Let’s Play’, with the definition being given as ‘Electronic transmission and streaming of video games via global and local computer networks; streaming of audio, visual, and audiovisual material via global and local computer networks’.

You know, the thing people have done on sites like Youtube and Twitch for years now.  The hobby which is so popular and well known that it has its own Wikipedia page, it’s own page on Know Your Meme and its own entire wiki dedicated to the scene:

Let’s Play (Wikipedia)

Let’s Play (Know Your Meme)

Let’s Play Wiki

But even with all this evidence out there, Sony decided to try and register it as a trademark.  Here’s the result for their application on the United States Patent and Trademark Office:

us trademark lets play

Above: You can view this application by clicking on either the screenshot above or this text.

So what do we think about this?

Well for starters, we strongly doubt that this will be accepted as a trademark, since it’s clearly trying to take ownership of a term that’s commonly used as generic by a large community.  So there’s a pretty good chance someone will object to it, perhaps even one of Sony’s direct competitors (since both Nintendo and Microsoft have used the term for their own videos and what not).

If the above doesn’t happen on its own, well, it’s pretty likely someone will write a ‘letter of protest’ contesting this trademark, since it’s a clear threat to a lot of people online and their livelihoods.  If you want to do that yourself, well, there’s a link on how to do so here:

How to File a Letter of Protest

Either way, Sony has tried to trademark the term ‘Let’s Play’, and you should really hope they don’t succeed with their application.


Sony May Be Trying to Trademark the Term Let’s Play – Voat

Psychonauts 2 Announced!

Well, this is a title we never thought would see the light of day!  At yesterday’s Video Game Awards, it was announced that a new Psychonauts game was going to return via crowd funding site Fig, with many of the team that worked on the original game coming back to work on this one.  For example, Erik Wolpaw will help write the game’s story, Peter Chan will be drawing the concept art and Peter McConnell is responsible for the game’s soundtrack.

For platforms, the game will be available on all major PC operating systems (via Steam and GOG), as well as PS4 and Xbox One.  No word on a Wii U or Nintendo NX version yet, but maybe it’ll be available on the latter when it’s actually been announced by Nintendo and we have any idea about what will games will be available for it in general.

The game will centre around Raz’s visit to Psychonauts Headquarters (continuing a sequel hook included in the first game), and will explore more of his family’s backstory (like his curse to always drown in water).  Here’s the pitch video for the game from the campaign site:

As you can see, they need to raise 3,300,000 dollars by January 8th 2016.  Not a small goal by any means, but one that seems like it’s fairly doable by a team working on a sequel to one of the most beloved games of all time.

So that’s Psychonauts 2.  Are you excited that the game is finally in development?  Do you think the game will easily get the 3.3 million dollars needed?  Post your thoughts on the game and DoubleFine’s recent announcement in the comments or at the Gaming Reinvented forums today!


Psychonauts 2 – Fig

The Game Awards Will Feature Ten World Premieres

Hosted by ex Spike TV Video Game Awards host Geoff Keighley, the Game Awards are yet another awards show meant to celebrate the best in the world of video games. But while the show’s return isn’t the most exciting announcement in the world, there’s actually one thing there that might be. Namely, ten whole world premieres of new games! Here’s the tweet about it by Mr Keighley on Twitter:

So what are these games? Well to be perfectly honest, we have no idea. But it’s likely that new titles by Nintendo, Activision, EA or Microsoft could be some of those in the pipeline, given what famous faces are on the advisory panel. After all, you’re not going to get people like Reggie Fils-Aime, Hideo Kojima or Phil Spencer in if they’re only advising the award judges, right? So you can probably expect some interesting announcements here, like maybe a new Zelda U trailer or some information about whatever the hell Kojima is working on after leaving Konami earlier in the year.

But what do you think? Are you excited about the possibility of ten new video game premieres during this awards show? What interesting games do you think Nintendo might announce there?