Developer Had No Idea His Game Was Appearing On Steam

For most smaller developers, getting a game on Steam is an important milestone. Often the most important. So a lot of weird stuff has to happen for a guy to not even know people are buying his game.

Yet that's exactly what's happened to Georgy Beloglazo, who in 2010 released a game called Phobos 1953. That game has since gone through some weird contracts and licensing deals, to the point where its recent release on Steam - now rebranded 1953 KGB Unleashed - was news to Beloglazo.

He claims he's not making a cent from sales of the "new" game, something publisher UIG dispute, pointing towards a 2011 contract. Beloglazo is also asking people not to buy this rebrand of his moody, historically-focused adventure game.

According to a report on Indie Statik, the source of the confusion is the fact the game has changed hands twice; once to a Russian publisher, then that publisher handed it off to UIG.

Regardless of licensing deals, it'd be wrong for Beloglazo and his studio to not get paid for what, name change or not, is still their work.

Phobos 1953 Developer Was Shocked To Find His Game Renamed And Released On Steam [Indie Statik]


    Regardless of licensing deals, it’d be wrong

    But what if, hypothetically, a publisher paid the developers a big sum of cash and they contractually agreed to relinquish all rights over their work?

    I have no idea what the intricacies of this agreement are, so saying that it's 'wrong' without knowing all the facts isn't quite right.

      Yes.. that's right. So it seems the dispute would be between Beloglazo and the unnamed Russian publisher who handed it off to UIG.

      Adjust to 'morally wrong' instead of implied 'legally wrong'. :)

      Those two types of wrong are very, very, very, very, very different. :P

        Indeed! I had a long, long, long debate with friends over the topic of morality vs legality (especially in the context of pirating) last Friday.

        Some people actually confuse them as being the same thing.

        In this case though, there is a possibility that it's even morally right. I mean again, if hypothetically the developers were paid $2 million for the rights, then isn't it morally (and legally) alright for the company to sell the game afterwards and do what they wish with it?

          Yeah, it'd come down to what they sold. Brass tacks: it seems like the dev's contending that they had/have an active stake in the IP. When the original publisher sold the IP, they're selling that stake as well - so you'd assume the morally-right thing would be to either pay off the dev for their claim, or bundle that claim with the IP.

          In regards to the moral standpoint, we would need to acquire more information on exactly what deal transpired.
          In respects to morality versus legality, they are different altogether. Ethics are more in-line with law than what morals are (as morals are individualistic). Assuming the creative teams knowingly signed all rights away to a publisher in some sort of monetary exchange, then legally and ethically, they cannot complain nor seek compensation. If the publisher legally attained the rights through what the creative team would deem immoral; again, legally and ethically they are not permitted to complain nor can seek compensation. They will however be 'morally' justified in their complaints.

          I am sorry to bore you with the philosophical rant, although I do find it interesting that the game had been sold to two other publishers. It would be irritating to create an entire game for others to make income, but not the initial creators.

        I don't see how its morally wrong either. If he sold his rights away, he sold his right to earn income from future sales. Presumably, he factored this into whether the sale was 'worth it' at the time. Note that I'm assuming no trickery was involved here.

          Yeah. Maybe. See above post, though. It reads like he continued to have an active stake in the IP.

          It would be seriously naive for a dev to complain in the case of having signed rights over wholly and solely to their publisher as part of the initial publishing deal. But if there was a royalties arrangement, then that should've been sorted out at the time of the IP sale.

      The greater issue on a number of these stories is the irresponsibility of Kotaku's constant accusations and moral posturing.

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