The visuals of a video game, including the art design, characters and graphics, can be one of the key factors in the success of a game. Gamers have become used to seeing sumptuous visuals and look out for iconic characters. As such, visual aspects of a video game can have significant value.
In addition, creating suitably impressive game visuals can require significant skill, insight and investment. As such, protecting the value in game visuals is important for many game developers.
It is possible to protect the look of designs in the UK and European Union via registered design protection, regardless of whether the designs are for tangible objects or are implemented purely in the digital domain. This opens up an opportunity for protection for the visual appearance of video game components such as the look of characters, icons, interfaces and other game visuals. Beneficially, since the protection afforded by registered designs is not limited to a specific product category, it can cover not only the digital domain but also merchandising and other tangible items incorporated in the design.
Design registration in the UK and European Union also provides a range of benefits, including a relatively quick, inexpensive and undemanding application process compared with some other forms of IP, with timelines from application to grant in the order of weeks being not uncommon.
Given the possibility of quickly and efficiently obtaining protection for the look of digital designs across the digital and real-world domains, adding design protection in the UK and Europe to an IP strategy looks good for game developers seeking protection for key value adding game visuals.