More on the Frogwares-Nacon-Dispute

So, not too long ago, I wrote about Frogwares and Nacon and The Sinking City and tried to explain my stance on it in combination with the information that was open to the public. Then Frogwares DM’d me about some information I got wrong or that I portrayed in a wrong way, so I figured I should write a small update on the situation with information from those Twitter direct messages. I could have just updated the post but since a lot of people read it and seemed interested in it, I figured I should make a new post on it so that people actually see the updated information and so on.

For anyone that doesn’t know what this is about: Here’s the previous post, I’d say read the previous post… I’ll try summarising it quickly but it’s quite difficult to put it into a TLDR of sorts. So, Frogwares are a small studio that is behind the popular Sherlock Holmes games among others and have been developing The Sinking City for a year but required more financial support for the development of it. Nacon, formerly known as BigBen Interactive, was supposed to contribute to the game financially per contract on certain milestones and they’d be able to be the sole contributor of the standard version of the game and they’d take a revenue share as well. Nacon ended up agreeing to the terms but didn’t deliver the money on-time or would stop it completely, presumably because they wanted to get Frogwares’ source code for another game and Frogwares refused to give it to them. Nacon doesn’t own the IP or anything and has no right to stop financing the studio just because of Frogwares protecting their IP but they just ended up being dicks about it. Stuff went to court and now it gets complicated.

So, Nacon basically demands a version for them to sell on Steam and basically started selling an older version without any Frogwares logos on the boxes and stuff… That’s against the agreement, too. They also nearly breached the deal with Epic Games that Frogwares had by trying to sell on a different platform despite the exclusivity agreement. Frogwares had to issue DMCAs on different storefronts to prevent that. Nacon went to court.

July 2020: The Judge refused to order the continuation of the contract and the delivery of a new Steam Master version to Nacon. Nacon did after all breach the contract multiple times.

October 2020: The Appeal Court ruled differently. The contract continues but Frogwares does not have to deliver a new Steam Master version of the game. Nacon did receive a version before for the commercialization on the Epic Games Store and since there was this exclusivity agreement there, there was no commercialization on Steam yet. Hence, they should use the EGS version and be happy with it… So, the judgement from October 2020 is not preventing Nacon to release the game on Steam since they have the Master Version (from EGS) from April 2019. For whatever reason, however, Nacon wants a new version instead. Since the court didn’t say that Frogwares has to do that, Frogwares doesn’t do it. Frogwares proposed three times to find an agreement on that older version but Nacon refused it every single time.

Fast forward to February 2021 where Nacon still has the Steam Master Version from April 2019 but refuses to use that one. Frogwares still doesn’t have to deliver a newer version. Nacon refuses Frogwares’ proposals of settlings. Instead, Nacon goes and buys a commercial version that is newer from Frogwares only to then crack it open and edit/hack/pirate it to use it on Steam. They do not have the right to do so per contract or per court case or whatever. Piracy isn’t allowed at all in this case or any case. 

Another part of public information is that the decisions of July 2020 and October 2020 are summary court decisions and hence not final. The final decisions are sent to the trial court. I assume this means that the legal dispute will continue and with Nacon not only breaching the copyright agreement but also pirating a copy to sell their own, I’d reckon that the tides may shift in favour of Frogwares here. We’ll have to see about that.

Another part here is that Nacon still has to pay Frogwares the money they’re owed. Nacon is selling units of the games right now but is sending negative sales report without any indication or explanation. Nacon refuses to explain to Frogwares how they can sell the game but actually lose money. They have to pay Frogwares but make reports that there isn’t anything to pay. They don’t give any details on sales figures nor any documents that would explain this phenomenon of selling a lot but losing money. Hence, Frogwares’ only real option here is to start a new court case so that the judge can order Nacon to give them the actual documents and actual sales figures that are also part of the contractual obligation. 

My stance on the matter doesn’t change here. Nacon still behaves like a huge child that wants a new version despite the court ruling that Frogwares doesn’t have to give them one. Nacon doesn’t understand that no means no, which is an issue. I still think that Frogwares deserves all the support in the world. With these new bits of information, I still believe more in Frogwares. Nacon still just says “no, you” in there statement and says the opposite. We’ll just have to wait on the court’s ruling and see how things turn out in the future.

Any thoughts? Let me know! I still think that the topic here is quite interesting and since I apparently misinterpreted information or phrased it in the wrong way, I’m happy that Frogwares reached out and let me know about the bits of information that I was missing.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

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