Sony Could Have Had Limbo All to Itself

Sony Could Have Had Limbo All to Itself

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Playdead Studios offered Limbo to Sony first, but arguments over IP rights soured the deal.

Playdead's unnerving, million-selling platformer, Limbo made a big splash when it was released on XBLA back in July 2010. Due to Microsoft's habit of pushing for timed exclusives, the game didn't make it to PSN until nearly a year later. An odd result, given that Playdead offered Limbo to Sony first.

According to Sony Computer Entertainment Executive Producer Pete Smith, talks with Playdead broke down because Sony wanted to retain the intellectual property rights to the game.

"There are obvious benefits to keeping it [the IP rights], but also to giving it up: you're way more likely to get the deal," he said to developers during a talk at the Develop Conference. "Remember: 100 per cent of nothing is nothing. A publisher is much more likely to commit to marketing and merchandising if they own the IP."

"Sometimes all we want is protection so [developers] don't make a game, finish it then go to one of our rivals," he said. "We look at IP on a case by case basis. With a bit of common sense, you can find common ground."

Unfortunately, Sony didn't find that common ground in this case. Limbo sold 300,000 copies in its first month on XBLA and had broke a million by the end of 2011. When it was finally released on PSN, it quickly became the service's best-selling downloadable title of 2011, but presumably could have performed even better if Sony had got it out first.

Source: Edge

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I love Karma, seriously, nothing makes me happier than seeing a bunch of corporate idiots kicking themselves for being.. well, corporate idiots. It won't change anything about how they do business, or even give them cause for thought, they're in the position they're in because of their unflinching resolve to do the wrong thing in the face of logic and good sense. So, the most we can hope for is satisfying little tid-bits like this.

Well someone took the BFG and just shot their foot clean the fuck off.

Sony really should have grabbed it up, I mean of course Playdead wants to keep the IP. Yeah sometimes you can can cut a deal that way, but if they say no, they're of course going to go somewhere else.

But then Sony got Journey so I suppose it all evens out.

Geez, Sony, you're making it hard for me to keep liking you.
Then again, M$ had the money to get Minecraft as an exclusive so...I dunno, it just seems like it went like this:

Limbo guys: "Have this game for this much?"
Sony: "Eh...seems like a lot. We'll think about it, alright?"

Limbo guys: "Have this game for this much?"
Microsoft: "Yeah...I think I have that much spare change in my glove compartment. Sure, why not?"

In the end, I'm sure Playdead is glad they got to keep the rights AND made a huge splash with the game.

Best of both worlds for them.

While Sony is going "well... at least we have Journey" and Microsoft is going "we should've made them add Kinect support".

Lesson learnd.....well not really.

Beautiful End:
Geez, Sony, you're making it hard for me to keep liking you.
Then again, M$ had the money to get Minecraft as an exclusive so...I dunno, it just seems like it went like this:

Limbo guys: "Have this game for this much?"
Sony: "Eh...seems like a lot. We'll think about it, alright?"

Limbo guys: "Have this game for this much?"
Microsoft: "Yeah...I think I have that much spare change in my glove compartment. Sure, why not?"

Not really. Microsoft wanted the game to be theirs exclusively for a year. Sony wanted the idea behind the game to be theirs forever. Which sounds more reasonable to you?

This "publisher owns the IP" business can fuck right off. Good for Playdead.

Hammeroj:
This "publisher owns the IP" business can fuck right off. Good for Playdead.

Hear, hear!

'Unfortunately, Sony didn't find that common ground in this case.'

That's not unfortunate. Platform exclusives suck. So glad Limbo came to Steam.

Grey Carter:
"With a bit of common sense, you can find common ground."

And Sony has proven once again that they have neither.

Well, you can't always have a crystal ball. Or make an educated guess about what will be really successful if you're Sony.

oldtaku:
'Unfortunately, Sony didn't find that common ground in this case.'

That's not unfortunate. Platform exclusives suck. So glad Limbo came to Steam.

Unfortunately for them, that is.

I'm glad it didn't happen that way, I wouldn't be enjoying the game in my PC today.

Hammeroj:
This "publisher owns the IP" business can fuck right off. Good for Playdead.

You think it's immoral for people to sell things they own?

Sony and Playdead couldn't agree terms so they went their separate ways, something which is entirely normal in business. Why does this make Sony the evil empire all of a sudden?

-|-:

Hammeroj:
This "publisher owns the IP" business can fuck right off. Good for Playdead.

You think it's immoral for people to sell things they own?

Sony and Playdead couldn't agree terms so they went their separate ways, something which is entirely normal in business. Why does this make Sony the evil empire all of a sudden?

The entire practice of basically telling creators to forfeit all creative rights to their creation under their terms is common, but also greedy and draconian.

It's the very reason the creators of Superman died poor and the reason there is an entire foundation established to help support the comic creators that created characters like Captain America, Green Lantern, Wolverine, Thanos, The Punisher, etc.

It becomes especially sad when a game developer loses the rights to their own IP when a company buys them out and then screws the IP up with sequels that totally fly in the face of their original intent... I mean, Mega Man's co-creator, Keiji Inafune, has for years labored to make a great Mega Man game for the fans, but Capcom cancelled everything he was developing. Same goes for Street Fighter's producer championing a new Darkstalkers, only to have no sway. Even Hideo Kojima is sick to death of Konami forcing him to make more Metal Gear Solid games when he's well and truly tired of doing them.

Trishbot:

-|-:

Hammeroj:
This "publisher owns the IP" business can fuck right off. Good for Playdead.

You think it's immoral for people to sell things they own?

Sony and Playdead couldn't agree terms so they went their separate ways, something which is entirely normal in business. Why does this make Sony the evil empire all of a sudden?

The entire practice of basically telling creators to forfeit all creative rights to their creation under their terms is common, but also greedy and draconian.

It's the very reason the creators of Superman died poor and the reason there is an entire foundation established to help support the comic creators that created characters like Captain America, Green Lantern, Wolverine, Thanos, The Punisher, etc.

It becomes especially sad when a game developer loses the rights to their own IP when a company buys them out and then screws the IP up with sequels that totally fly in the face of their original intent... I mean, Mega Man's co-creator, Keiji Inafune, has for years labored to make a great Mega Man game for the fans, but Capcom cancelled everything he was developing. Same goes for Street Fighter's producer championing a new Darkstalkers, only to have no sway. Even Hideo Kojima is sick to death of Konami forcing him to make more Metal Gear Solid games when he's well and truly tired of doing them.

Oh, I understand the reasons why a content creator would not want to sell - especially if they are confident in their creation (as Playdead obviously were). I just don't see it as a draconian concept because there is no coercion involved - nobody is really forced to do anything. Greedy, yes, I can accept that.

My view is that if you own IP then you should be free to sell it without interference from third parties. Selling something today that is more valuable tomorrow is just the way it goes sometimes. I have some sympathy for creators who fall on hard times, but I don't think that party A buying something from party B makes party A unethical just because party B regrets the sale at a later date (with the proviso that party B wasn't defrauded)

Grey Carter:

oldtaku:
'Unfortunately, Sony didn't find that common ground in this case.'

That's not unfortunate. Platform exclusives suck. So glad Limbo came to Steam.

Unfortunately for them, that is.

Yeah, I know, that was wildly out of context, wasn't trying to imply your story was wrong there. But it's very fortunate for everyone but Sony.

I'm happy they didn't get exclusive rights to it either, I beat it on Steam with my partner (Who hates spiders, heh heh heh) and it was a wonderful experience.

As a old time PlayStation fan-boy I'm glad to say, "IN YOUR FACE SONY!! IN YOUR FACE!!"

Trishbot:

-|-:

Hammeroj:
This "publisher owns the IP" business can fuck right off. Good for Playdead.

You think it's immoral for people to sell things they own?

Sony and Playdead couldn't agree terms so they went their separate ways, something which is entirely normal in business. Why does this make Sony the evil empire all of a sudden?

The entire practice of basically telling creators to forfeit all creative rights to their creation under their terms is common, but also greedy and draconian.

It's the very reason the creators of Superman died poor and the reason there is an entire foundation established to help support the comic creators that created characters like Captain America, Green Lantern, Wolverine, Thanos, The Punisher, etc.

Yes, clearly we would be better off if the people who created Funny Man were the only people allowed to create Superman stories, stories that would mean said character would have died in the 60's, and only Rob Liefeld, the man who created Deadpool, could make his comics.

Yeah, your anarchic little bubble just got crushed, didn't it? Amazingly, and I know this is going to be a shock to you, but if you look up the word corporation in the dictionary, you may notice it is not a synonym for evil.

=y:
Well, you can't always have a crystal ball. Or make an educated guess about what will be really successful if you're Sony.

Yes because clearly the fact that they wanted to publish the IP means they thought it wouldn't be successful. Just like how people who drill for oil do so only when they know there is no chance of there being oil where they drill.

Foolproof:

Trishbot:

-|-:

You think it's immoral for people to sell things they own?

Sony and Playdead couldn't agree terms so they went their separate ways, something which is entirely normal in business. Why does this make Sony the evil empire all of a sudden?

The entire practice of basically telling creators to forfeit all creative rights to their creation under their terms is common, but also greedy and draconian.

It's the very reason the creators of Superman died poor and the reason there is an entire foundation established to help support the comic creators that created characters like Captain America, Green Lantern, Wolverine, Thanos, The Punisher, etc.

Yes, clearly we would be better off if the people who created Funny Man were the only people allowed to create Superman stories, stories that would mean said character would have died in the 60's, and only Rob Liefeld, the man who created Deadpool, could make his comics.

Yeah, your anarchic little bubble just got crushed, didn't it? Amazingly, and I know this is going to be a shock to you, but if you look up the word corporation in the dictionary, you may notice it is not a synonym for evil.

Um, what the hell are you talking about?

My point is that the creators of these comics and iconic characters never saw a dime in royalties. Despite creating the most popular superhero of all time, DC Comics contracts removed all ownership rights the creators of Superman and others ever had. Marvel had similar deals in place. It was what drove creators to found Image comics.

I never once said that other people couldn't write the stories, at all. I just stated that the creators of these properties watched their creations make millions of dollars from comic sales, movie deals, and merchandise, and they never saw a single cent.

So, sorry, my "little anarchic bubble" never got burst because you missed the point entirely. Besides, a company doesn't have to be baby-stomping evil to do unethical things. Even Disney has done it's share of bad, along with its share of good. Just because a company screws over its own creators and never pays them their dues doesn't mean that they're off the hook just because they're not out for the blood of virgins and the elimination of happiness.

Unless "common sense" is anarchic. I don't know. It might be these days.

Trishbot:

Foolproof:

Trishbot:

The entire practice of basically telling creators to forfeit all creative rights to their creation under their terms is common, but also greedy and draconian.

It's the very reason the creators of Superman died poor and the reason there is an entire foundation established to help support the comic creators that created characters like Captain America, Green Lantern, Wolverine, Thanos, The Punisher, etc.

Yes, clearly we would be better off if the people who created Funny Man were the only people allowed to create Superman stories, stories that would mean said character would have died in the 60's, and only Rob Liefeld, the man who created Deadpool, could make his comics.

Yeah, your anarchic little bubble just got crushed, didn't it? Amazingly, and I know this is going to be a shock to you, but if you look up the word corporation in the dictionary, you may notice it is not a synonym for evil.

Um, what the hell are you talking about?

My point is that the creators of these comics and iconic characters never saw a dime in royalties. Despite creating the most popular superhero of all time, DC Comics contracts removed all ownership rights the creators of Superman and others ever had. Marvel had similar deals in place. It was what drove creators to found Image comics.

I never once said that other people couldn't write the stories, at all. I just stated that the creators of these properties watched their creations make millions of dollars from comic sales, movie deals, and merchandise, and they never saw a single cent.

So, sorry, my "little anarchic bubble" never got burst because you missed the point entirely. Besides, a company doesn't have to be baby-stomping evil to do unethical things. Even Disney has done it's share of bad, along with its share of good. Just because a company screws over its own creators and never pays them their dues doesn't mean that they're off the hook just because they're not out for the blood of virgins and the elimination of happiness.

Unless "common sense" is anarchic. I don't know. It might be these days.

So you justification for demonising any agreement between an IP Creator and a company is that 80 years ago, an artist working for DC didn't read his contract?

Scars Unseen:

Beautiful End:
Geez, Sony, you're making it hard for me to keep liking you.
Then again, M$ had the money to get Minecraft as an exclusive so...I dunno, it just seems like it went like this:

Limbo guys: "Have this game for this much?"
Sony: "Eh...seems like a lot. We'll think about it, alright?"

Limbo guys: "Have this game for this much?"
Microsoft: "Yeah...I think I have that much spare change in my glove compartment. Sure, why not?"

Not really. Microsoft wanted the game to be theirs exclusively for a year. Sony wanted the idea behind the game to be theirs forever. Which sounds more reasonable to you?

I'm glad you pointed that out; a lot of other posters seem to be missing the point.

And, for what it's worth, the idea that Microsoft is a behemoth that dwarfs poor little Sony is laughable. In Japan, Sony is a corporate juggernaut that could teach Microsoft quite a lot about ruthless business practices.

100% of nothing is nothing, is so much a both ways thing, that I thought he was making the comment to publishers and not developers

Foolproof:
So you justification for demonising any agreement between an IP Creator and a company is that 80 years ago, an artist working for DC didn't read his contract?

Do you work for Warner Bros. or something?

Where the hell did I "demonize" a company? Just because a company does something I feel is unethical does not mean I hate the entire company.

But, no. First off, the artists and writers who CREATED DC Comics didn't get paid squat. Various companies bought them out when they were about to go under. Their only alternatives were to lose all rights to their creative work, or let their families starve.

And those 80-year-old backwater, anti-creator contracts are STILL in place with these companies to this day. Absolutely zero progress has been made. It is still an anti-creator, company-beneficial world out there for the creators of mainstream comics, and it's why Jim Starlin can create Thanos, have Thanos be in the 3rd most successful film of all time, and he neither knew it was going to happen nor did he get a single solitary penny from the studio, despite that being his creation up on screen for millions of people to see and enjoy.

The company is just doing what it always does; try and make money. But things need to change, and things ARE changing. Creators keep rebelling. Lawsuits keep flying. The rights to Superman may, in fact, get knocked out of DC Comics hands if the families of the creators win their lawsuit (and they very well might). The "old rules" of 80 years ago need to change, and if it finally means we can avoid situations where a comic creator is dying of cancer but can't afford treatment even though his comic creation just made millions at the box office, I'm all for amending these contracts.

Trishbot:

And those 80-year-old backwater, anti-creator contracts are STILL in place with these companies to this day. Absolutely zero progress has been made. It is still an anti-creator, company-beneficial world out there for the creators of mainstream comics, and it's why Jim Starlin can create Thanos, have Thanos be in the 3rd most successful film of all time, and he neither knew it was going to happen nor did he get a single solitary penny from the studio, despite that being his creation up on screen for millions of people to see and enjoy.

If Jim Starlin hadn't sold his character to Marvel, he would have been sued into the Phantom Zone by DC for blatantly ripping off Darkseid, and Thanos wouldn't be in the movie, period.

Sony's disputes always lead to great things, the PS1, and now a non-platform exclusive! Seriously though, I'm finding it harder to love Sony nowadays. Although as long as they have the Big Three I don't really care what they do.

News that Sony are a pack of greedy conniving money grubbing thugs who demand all rights to everything with nothing in return? Say it aint so. /sarcasm

Glad to see they got bit in the ass for once on this crap. This is why I tell anyone who asks that I do not knowingly buy anything, hardware or software from that pack of thugs.

Trishbot:

But, no. First off, the artists and writers who CREATED DC Comics didn't get paid squat. Various companies bought them out when they were about to go under. Their only alternatives were to lose all rights to their creative work, or let their families starve.

Hmm, I'm in favour of creators having a piece of the pie if their creation is successful, even if it's only a small piece, since plenty of other people contribute to the process of expanding their creation, but obviously the artists and writers must have been paid something, in some way, otherwise the statement that otherwise their families would have starved makes no sense.

Tradjus:
I love Karma, seriously, nothing makes me happier than seeing a bunch of corporate idiots kicking themselves for being.. well, corporate idiots. It won't change anything about how they do business, or even give them cause for thought, they're in the position they're in because of their unflinching resolve to do the wrong thing in the face of logic and good sense. So, the most we can hope for is satisfying little tid-bits like this.

Really couldn't have said it better myself. Personally I'm glad the game did end up on Steam and XBLA else I wouldnt be able to play ut so thank god for that particular set if corporate idiots.

 

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