Microsoft got Limbo cause Sony got greedy
If you ever wondered why Play Dead’s LIMBO was released on XBLA almost a year earlier than on PSN, here’s why. Sony wanted the rights to the IP and Play Dead didn’t want to play ball.
Speaking at the Develop Conference in Brighton last week, Sony executive producer Pete Smith stated that they were in talks with Play Dead to get Limbo exclusively on PS3, but that the talks fell through as Sony kept insisting of getting the rights to the IP:
“I maybe shouldn’t say this, but we had issues when we were trying to sign Limbo because of the IP,”
Earlier on, Smith still defended the point of giving up your IP as a developer:
“There are obvious benefits to keeping it, but also to giving it up: you’re way more likely to get the deal,”
“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 [devs] don’t make a game, finish it then go to one of our rivals. We look at IP on a case by case basis. With a bit of common sense, you can find common ground.”
Of course, from a publishing point of view that’s completely correct. However, what about the protection of the developer? How many studios have made great games, sold off their IP and then get sidestepped to see another (internal?) studio take over development of it?
In the case of Limbo, Sony’s longing for IP ownage resulted in Play Dead signing with Microsoft, and the game getting released on Steam and PSN a year later than on XBLA. By then, the game had sold already over 500.000 times, and by end of 2011 it surpassed the 1 million mark.
Naturally, not every game will have such success, but since Sony themselves say they look at IP on a case by case basis, they surely could have been smarter with Play Dead and Limbo…