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Sony lost out on Limbo deal over IP rights

The indie hit could have been on PSN first, but Sony insisted on the IP rights

Independent success story Limbo eventually made its way to PlayStation Network, but Sony could have secured the game first if it had been willing to play nice with developer Playdead. Sony Computer Entertainment executive producer Pete Smith admitted during Develop last week that Sony lost out on the deal because the company wanted the rights to the Limbo IP.

Playdead went on to sign a deal with Microsoft, the game released in July 2010 on Xbox Live Arcade, and then it took a year to reach PSN and Steam. Limbo sold 300,000 copies in its first month on XBLA and the game had passed 1 million by the end of last year.

Smith talked about the pros and cons of trying to gain full IP rights during his Develop session.

"There are obvious benefits to keeping it, but also to giving it up: you're way more likely to get the deal," he said. "Remember: 100 percent 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."

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James Brightman avatar
James Brightman: James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.
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