Blizzard’s Overwatch May Be Blizzard’s Something Else

baby I'm on overwatch for you

Blizzard’s attempt to snag a trademark for its upcoming shooter Overwatch has gone a bit awry. Turns out the US Patent Office was on overwatch for stuff with the same name, and put up a roadblock when it discovered that a paintball system had filed for ‘Overwatch’ before the Warcraft folk got there.

Innovis Lab’s Overwatch system is something to do with sticking your phone to your paint- or airball gun and then having an app do something or other to enhance matters. I’m not convinced I’d like to risk my smartphone getting splattered with paint or indeed having any projectiles bounce off its screen, but maybe the reckless endangerment of a few hundred quid’s worth of device is just what the pretend war experience needs.

Anyway, Innovis filed for the Overwatch trademark some seven months before Blizzard did, reports Game Informer, so the latter’s application has been suspended while the USPTO figure out what to do. While one is a paintball accessory and software and one is a videogame, it seems they’re standing on similar enough terrain to have caused a problem. The paintball system is apparently “inspired by classic first-person shooter video games,” so I guess there is scope for confusion.

Any resolution currently hinges on whether Innovis’ Overwatch is deemed to be a currently going concern or not, but even if it’s not they still have the option to request an extension until next February. Blizzard may well have to change the name of their team shooter, which perhaps isn’t the biggest deal given they’ve only just announced it rather than are a long way down the campaign trail, but I suppose there’s always the option of their lobbing a big cheque at Innovis to change their paintball thinger’s name instead.

Overwatch is kind of a boring name anyway. I reckon Blizzard should call it BANG BANG LOOK WE’RE THE NEW SHOOTER WITH MORE MONEY THAN ANYONE ELSE EVERYONE’S GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT IT LET’S BE HONEST YOU’D SELL YOUR CHILDREN TO GET A BETA KEY instead.

BBLWTNSWMWTAEEGTBTAiLBHYSYCTGABK was unveiled at Blizzcon last November, but has no release date as yet.

53 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    While it does look quite nice, I feel I’m more in the “Might try this in an open beta with free keys”-camp rather than selling family members.

    • Caelyn Ellis says:

      Same here. When I look at BBLWTNSWMWTAEEGTBTALBHYSYCTGABK, I just see fantastic design and world-building being squandered on yet another entry in an overcrowded genre. I think there needs to be some sort of exchange program set up with the next developer to announce Epic RPG: Kingoms of Generica: We Have Elves: Swords.

      • Reefpirate says:

        Epic RPG: Kingoms of Generica: We Have Elves: Swords

        I understand your concern about mainstream generic themes these days, but your sarcastic joke managed to nearly completely avoid anything to do with Overwatch.

        In my opinion Overwatch looks like a nice refreshing take on a shooter genre that doesn’t see a whole lot of development these days (TF2-clones I guess you would call them?).

    • Xocrates says:

      It’s interesting really. The “selling family members” thing is indicative of how failure proof Blizzard has grown, not because they’re incapable of making a bad game (depending on your sensibilities, you could argue they already have), but because they’re likely to succeed regardless.

      I find the sentiment fascinating in a way, but it does mean that right now I’m anticipating, say, Heroes of the Storm more so I can see how far removed my personal opinion is from the general sentiment than any particular desire for the game (whose alpha failed to impress me), and I fear Overwatch/BBLWTNSWMWTAEEGTBTALBHYSYCTGABK may follow the same path – hopefully not, but I’ll wait and see.

    • vlonk says:

      Well that happened: link to escapistmagazine.com
      and that happened: link to mmamania.com
      So… when entertainment businesses or trademarks are involved basically anything can happen. Personally I am waiting for our weatherforecast storm-naming system being invaded by marketing hacks.

      • Antonius says:

        Look, just because Tropical Storm ‘(DROP_TABLE * FROM *) EXECUTE meant those bankers got off has nothing to do with anything‚Ķ

        :P

  2. Crafter says:

    I find it amazing that even though there are some very cool SF concepts we don’t see enough such as uplift, all I can gather from this trailer is ‘yet another bland shooter’ .

    • Chaz says:

      Just looks like a random mish mash of over the top character types and settings with very little to tie it all together. All rather uninspiring.

      • Crafter says:

        That’s what I mean.
        Samurai, dwarf, angel chick, they are not even trying …
        Heck, this is a Blizzard game, I expect it to be very polished, but appart from that I don’t expect much :( .

  3. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    What a glorious opportunity to simplify the whole genre!

    Overwatch can become Franchise #1028! & all the others can follow suit. We were clearly running out of WAR-DUTY-HONOR-BATTLE titles anyway.

    • Monggerel says:

      Admit it, BATTLEWAR is an amazing name for anything.
      Especially instant noodles.

      • vlonk says:

        A quick search on the almighty google brings up a canadian wrestling event named battlewar… Is there really no permutation left? *facepalmwar*

        • MadTinkerer says:

          Well I can think of a few:

          RAWWAR: War in it’s rawest form!

          NEWWAR: The latest reboot in the classic “New War” boardgame franchise from the 1930s!

          WARWICK: When candles go to war, someone’s going to get burned!

          You’re welcome.

          • Quinnbeast says:

            TBH, Terrible Lizards (FPS Era).

            TyrannoWARus
            WARnasaurus
            VelocaWARpter
            WARceratops
            WARpladocus

          • vlonk says:

            Niiiice. RAWWAR. Maincharacter can just RAWR or RAWAR all the time. Warwick on the other hand is a champion from league of legends. I see this as kinda taken. Also there ist the game design society from the University of Warwick.

  4. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Seems like their domination of trademarks is… over. Watch this space?

  5. Kefren says:

    Ah. Trademarks. If I was in charge I’d only let people trademark words they’d made up, not get protections on words owned by the wider world. “Apple? Sorry, that’s a real thing. You can’t trademark it for yourselves. Why not choose Apel? Apfruit? Drangus?” There’s limitless possibilities to make up words and combine them, why you can get trademarks on existing words seems madness to me.

    • WHS says:

      What? Why? Why would you want this? The whole world would sound like the iPhone app store, it would be terrible.

  6. Chuckleluck says:

    Overwatch looks like buckets of fun, but the name is incredibly bland. Maybe this will force Bliz to make a more interesting name.

    • Cinek says:

      I guess they’ll settle down with Underwatch or something equally uninspiring.

    • Horg says:

      Over_Watch it is then!

    • Ostymandias says:

      Blizzard have never been good at naming things really:

      WarCraft: Orcs and Humans
      WarCraft II
      WarCraft II: The Warlords
      WarCraft III: Reaper of Souls
      Warcraft III: Wrath of the Lich King
      StarCraft
      StarCraft: Heroes of the Swarm
      StarCraft 2: Legacy of Liberty
      StarCraft 2: Mists of the Void
      StarCraft 2: Heart of the Storm
      Diablo
      Diablo II
      Diablo II: Reign of Chaos
      Diablo III
      Diablo III: The Burning Crusade
      World of WarCraft (I mean we get it it’s an MMOGPR set in WarCraft)
      World of WarCraft: Beyond the Dark Portal
      World of WarCraft: The Frozen Throne
      World of WarCraft: Tides of Darkness
      Hearthstone: Heroes of WarCraft
      Heroes of the Storm

      I mean really, they should fire their naming department and hire me to do their long-term business development instead. Everyone gets rich that way

      [Edited for inconsistencies]

      • Horsebane says:

        Like half of the games on your list don’t exist

      • Distec says:

        Are you intentionally jumbling all those names up? If so, I think that cleverly illustrates how generic and interchangeable their game titles are.

        If not, L2Blizzard!

  7. FriendlyFire says:

    I’m betting Blizz will change it to something like Hunters of the Stars or Heroes of the Swarm.

  8. satan says:

    Shootcraft.

  9. ts061282 says:

    Valve makes DOTA 2. Bliz retaliates with TF2: The Redifferenting. If this sells like D3 ima puke.

    • derbefrier says:

      Its F2P.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      If that leads to Valve making Diablo IV and Blizzard retaliating with Half-Life 3, that might not be a bad idea…

      • Bart Stewart says:

        Given that Valve created the “Overwatch” as the military arm of the Combine in Half-Life 2, that might be one back-door way of gaining access to the name….

        • Antonius says:

          Games Workshop’s lawyers would have a field day if this were the case.

          Overwatch was in the original Space Hulk board game and early Space Marine books.
          Versions exist to this day in GW stuff.

    • Reefpirate says:

      What? Blizz ‘retaliates’ with Heroes of the Storm… A proper Dota-clone.

      If anything this is an answer to TF2 or Global Agenda. Which sounds great because nobody has done anything new in that space in a long time… Hence why I had to reference Global Agenda which was years ago.

  10. SanguineAngel says:

    … shouldn’t that be BBLWTNSWMMTAEEGTBTAiLBHYSYCTGABK?

    rather than BBLWTNSWMWTAEEGTBTAiLBHYSYCTGABK

  11. derbefrier says:

    Cool looking game, bland name. Don’t really care about the name as long as the game is as fun as it looks and yes I am saying the game looks fun.

  12. Moraven says:

    Has potential to be a fun game. Has that mix of TF2 with MOBA like classes. It will depend a lot on the maps and we only got to play one. Was certainly 10 minutes of fun despite my team being outmatched.

    Blizzard already has the name on lots of Art and Merchandise. They have a lot more to lose I would think. Cheaper to buy up the rights to the name.

    • Reefpirate says:

      No. They are not ‘MOBA-like’ classes. What is it with you ‘MOBA’ people and thinking everything is a MOBA??

      Does the game have creeps? No. Does it have Towers? No. Does it have item/gear progression? No. Does it look like each match is going to play out for 45 minutes potentially? No. Does it have unique hero selection? Yes… But so does TF2 and Street Fighter but you don’t go calling those MOBAs, do you?

  13. Premium User Badge

    Wisq says:

    Well, the trailer actually made me a lot more interested in this than I thought I would be, since I’ve fallen into the habit of assuming anything from Blizzard is a soulless cash grab.

    If it’s free to play I’ll definitely give it a shot, although I’m out the moment they start selling/charging for anything that’s not just cosmetic.

    If they just sell it regularly, well, I’ll be watching reviews at least.

    Also, after Starcraft, it’s good to see them including more women with more varied roles. If this is meant to be a TF2 competitor, then it certainly shines a bit of a light on the gender-one-sidedness of that game. :)

  14. norl says:

    The likelihood of this having lan play is very low.

    I am not interested in any multiplayer only shooter that does not support lan play.

    Sticking with TF2 and NS2 and LFD2 for the forseeable future.

  15. Veldzhes says:

    Overcraft?

  16. Arglebargle says:

    Simple. Spend a few million — Buy the name. Probably cheaper than reworking all the cinematics…

  17. psepho says:

    Surely they must rebrand as OVERCOAT? The ideal superhero name…

  18. Turkey says:

    I’ve already internalized it as That Team Fortress Game with the Gorilla in it.

  19. Pliqu3011 says:

    O4watch?

    I’ll grab my coat.

  20. geldonyetich says:

    As much money as Blizzard has earned on World of Warcraft, they might just cut to the chase and buy out the patent office.

  21. Itanic says:

    They should have to pay royalties to valve for it being a complete ripoff of team fortress 2..
    I was gobsmacked when i watched the gameplay trailer, my top 2 favourite game companys (blizz and valve) and they have the audacity to try and pass this off as a new thing. Let’s face it Valve have milked the TF2 type game franchise completely dry with some proper good marketing long after the game released ala hat’s and cards etc etc etc…. 1200+ hour’s spent playing TF2 according to my stats which is probably grossly under what it actually is..

    • Reefpirate says:

      TF2 got old and boring for a lot of people a long time ago. I’m looking forward to a refresher.

      And pay royalties? Please. Maybe Valve should pay royalties to whoever made the first Team Fortress mod in Quake. Just because Valve made a game doesn’t mean no one else should make the same thing. Competition leads to innovation in genres, and new interesting mechanics.

      It’s about damn time we got another TF2 clone, and I can’t think of many other devs I would rather have working on it.

  22. Antonius says:

    I have to ask though, has Alec sold the toddler already, or is he just waiting for Blizz to get in contact with him?

    “So, Mr. Meer, We can see from Junior’s account that he’s got 3 level 90’s. Now, did he level them all and get the titles he has or is he just a scrub noob?”