TimeGate loses Section 8 court appeal

Texas developer faces $7.35 million in damages and loss of Section 8 license following failed appeal.

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Sugar Land, Texas-based TimeGate Studios faces $7.35 million in damages and the loss of the Section 8 license following a failed appeal in a fraud lawsuit from SouthPeak Interactive, according to an April 9 U.S Court of Appeals decision spotted by Polygon.

A source with knowledge of the matter told Polygon today that TimeGate staff met this week to discuss the company's future, including its recently announced free-to-play stylized shooter Minimum.

It is unclear how the company plans to move forward or what changes will be made following the decision.

The legal battle between TimeGate and SouthPeak originated in 2009, when TimeGate sued the publisher, alleging multiple breaches of contract. In response to this, SouthPeak claimed that it was TimeGate that breached the contract by "failing to put forth its best efforts in developing" Section 8.

Both parties then entered into arbitration with a third party, who found in favor of SouthPeak, awarding the company $7.35 in damages and total control of the Section 8 game license. This decision would be overturned in federal court last March.

The U.S. Court of Appeals' decision this month to reverse and remand the previous federal ruling would force TimeGate to pay $7.35 in damages and give up control of the Section 8 IP.

TimeGate was also co-developer on Aliens: Colonial Marines. The studio confirmed job cuts last month, with sources claiming the layoffs were due to a publishing deal going belly up.

Discussion

72 comments
anigmha
anigmha

Well, I really liked Section 8. Pity people were busy buying and playing the same game over and over again *cough* CoD *cough* instead of trying something new with unique mechanics. Plus, it only cost $15 bucks on release.

5529319
5529319

$7.35 in damages? not 7.35m or something? I'm not very adapt and informed about these procedures, but isn't $7.35 for damages very little?

BovineDivine
BovineDivine

Interesting that you can get sued for not trying hard enough. Talk about productivity enforcement.

Damnation_6
Damnation_6

They serve it....they really did make a mess of things, Section 8 was unplayable and so was it's sequal for me on PC and they never fixed it. Prejudice has the same problem part 1 had and they just never fixed it.

cuddlyfuzzle
cuddlyfuzzle

haha, I read Section 8 and thought of Klinger ;)

Elann2008
Elann2008

TimeGate can't catch a break.  The Aliens: Colonial Marines ordeal with Gearbox Software putting out a horrible game, and a punch in the face to Alien franchise.  Gearbox obviously the more responsible party for Aliens: CM.

I can't say I'm surprised.  This pretty much shows that TimeGate does half-ass jobs with games.

skrat_01
skrat_01

Sorry to hear it TimeGate seemed like good devs and Section 8 Prejudice was a damn good multiplayer game. 

xerxes5678
xerxes5678

While I really enjoyed Section 8: Prejudice, I hope Southpeak finds a better developer for it.

EvilShabazz
EvilShabazz

Sorry for the employees, good for the industry.  TimeGate was putting out B-quality games and charging AAA prices.  Well, until the free-to-play shooter that won't come out.

Citizen_King
Citizen_King

I don't know what this article is about, but if that picture isn't from Halo than I don't know what is

hadlee73
hadlee73

"failing to put forth its best efforts in developing"... shock horror. Who could ever accuse TimeGate of doing that? :P

sqitso
sqitso

 The U.S. Court of Appeals' decision this month to reverse and remand the previous federal ruling would force TimeGate to pay $7.35 in damages and give up control of the Section 8 IP.

Only $7.35.. Hell I have that in my wallet. I will loan them the money.


Lum_Yatsura
Lum_Yatsura

Huh? Why would Timegate lose their IP? That's an unusual court decision, isn't it?

ArataWata
ArataWata

Pity. Their sequel Section 8 : Prejudice was a much greater improvement compared to the original, it was a blast in multiplayer and it was sadly over looked, didn't last long at all, probably cuz it used GFWL on PC and wasn't all that advertised for the 360/PS3.

Then Aliens:CM happened....

Oh boy, things aren't looking to great.

ziproy
ziproy

You do realize these are the people who ACTUALLY made Aliens Colonial Marines. I just want all of you to remember that as you are defending this company

Diarm0
Diarm0

I am very sad to hear this, I do hope timegate don't go under like so many other developers. They are actually a very good studio with some cool ideas, they have never been given the same budget or deadlines as a AAA studio to make full featured games. They were handed the mess of a game that was colonial marines and given a measly budget to get it finished. My advice would be for these guys to cut their losses, try taking on smaller projects for ios/android and work back up to the big games, section 8 prejudice had some great multiplayer action and I think these guys could make a great game if given the same resources as a bigger studio

Hayasmez
Hayasmez

Tip: Just because a first person shooter isn't Call of Battlefield doesn't make it terrible, i actually found Section 8 to be somthing refreshing in the genre.

LonerCat
LonerCat

And this is why I hate when games and corporate assholes mix. 

Stiler
Stiler

I don't get this, it sounds like Southpeak basically won a suit against thtem because the game "wasn't as good" as they wante dit to be. 


How can a company do that? I meant hat'd be like someone suing mcdonalds because the burger isn't as good as a home-grilled burger from a top chef? 

Who decides what's good enough/isn't? seems to be a slippery slope.

silvergol
silvergol

TimeGate Studios: Aliens: Colonial Marines

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

Probably aren't gonna be seeing these guys around for much longer then, this is a pretty big clusterfuck of disasters for them since the start of the year.

Vastano
Vastano

Unrelated to the subject matter, but related to the article:
"awarding the company $7.35 in damages" 

you may want to put "million" or "m" after the $7.35. That makes it sound as if they were only awarded a little over seven dollars...

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

The court appeal is not immediately relevant to gamers as it deals with the powers of the arbitrator in binding arbitration and the court's "confirmation and vacatur" of his awards. I was dismayed but not surprised to confirm just how much the courts defer to binding arbitration its findings, interpretations, and decisions. However, I was surprised by how the Appeals Court interpreted the "essence" of the contract between TimeGate and SouthPeak.

This ruling serves as a loud heads up for all parties involved in the drafting of contracts. In this instance the Appeals Court interpreted the contract as having the essence of letting both devs and pubs profit, as equal partners, not only from the game being developed  ("Section 8") at the time the contract entered into force, but all subsequent add-ons, iterations, sequels, and other derivative works. Although this might be a reasonable interpretation for this case, some devs no doubt do not see the wholesale of an IP in perpetuity to a pub as the spirit of publishing agreement. This is especially important for indie developers in a market where big businesses have begun to embrace but not yet exploit them.

In a way this is not necessarily a bad thing for gamers. One problem I see voiced a lot these days is there are too many sequels that don't evolve. If more devs adopt the attitude of making one game out of an IP then moving on, maybe we'll have more diverse games.

Ghetto_ninja
Ghetto_ninja

I bet the judge had Aliens: Colonial Marines on preorder

Mr_Big_Boss
Mr_Big_Boss

Really? They only have to pay $7.35!

I'm sure they'll find a way to pay off the 35 cents, but 7 whole dollars? Sucks to be them right now.

blackothh
blackothh

Ive never heard of south peak games so i looked them up and they have absolutely nothing interesting under their belt. Timegate does not have alot but I was a big fan of Kohan and Fear. What a shame. I hate seeing publishers putting hurt on developers. 


But if they can get away with sueing for lack of effort, I would like to sue pretty much every big name studio for the crap that has made it to market in the last few years.

yoda101280
yoda101280

I think they forgot the key "million" moniker in a few key places, fire your editors gamespot. :)

Broodax
Broodax

@Damnation_6 what!? i believe that was a hardware issue they cant sent you new hardware when yours fucks up

-

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@Elann2008 Responsible? Timegate made most of the game and Sega gave Gearbox the finger when they said they wanted to go back and fix it. It's Sega's fault mostly, then Timegate for being crummy developers. Gearbox made mistakes, but none so egregious as the other guys.

john_mcpherson
john_mcpherson

@EvilShabazz  Right because Section 8 was like $15. AAA ROFL. And Section 8 was an awesome game. Can you give me an example?

McGregor
McGregor

@Lum_Yatsura It's possible they put it up as collateral. But I agree, a bit odd that they would have to give the IP away.

Elann2008
Elann2008

@ziproy 

That was TimeGate and Gearbox, Gearbox put in about 80% of the development into Aliens: Colonial Marines.  They both deserve the blame, but Gearbox deserves it more.

skrat_01
skrat_01

@ziproy The company that Gearbox palmed the game off on so it could be pushed out the door in some sort of finished state? You know, so Sega would actually get the game they had been paying Gearbox to develop for four odd years?

Gearbox entirely ****ed up that project, not TimeGate.

Hayasmez
Hayasmez

@ziproy Funny how Timegate gets all the flak when it was Gearbox who was supposed to be the ones making the game, in the end it falls on them to put all the peices together, except it looks like they didn't even bother at all.

SergioMX
SergioMX

@ziproy You need to also remember this is costing real people their jobs.

FedCom
FedCom

@Stiler Nah, it would be more like McDonalds suing the person who microwaved it. Though I'm not entirely sure how one measures "best efforts" as Aliens seems to suggest that that actually was their best.

ViskiJack
ViskiJack

That is not a good thing in any possible scenario.A publisher should just publish games not fucking own them and use developers as slaves in Apple factories.If you don't own your IP you are not invested in it's creation.Also publishers tend to make sequels and dlc for easy money .I can understand a dev needing money to make a game but but if you loose your game to make it it kinda defies the point,

ypsallig
ypsallig

@AshrakAiemain lol, nice catch. I had just finished the article when I saw your post. What a typo!!! - lmao

McGregor
McGregor

@INF1DEL @sqitso He should let someone else proofread it. He probably doesn't notice the mistake(s).

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@ViskiJack I agree with you when it comes to the first game. The pub should respect the artistic vision of the dev and not meddle to squeeze every bit of profit. If the devs intend to create a multi-game IP, they should of course make sure the contract protects them, but if their vision is for a single game, they shouldn't worry about future exploitation by pubs. They are artists, after all; they still need to make a living, but their purpose shouldn't be profit like pubs.

Besides, poor exploitation usually works poorly on gamers anyway. I can think of a few IP that have been abandoned by gamers because they no longer carry the spirit of the original creators; Operation Flashpoint vs Arma is a prominent example.

A situation may also arise when the original devs no longer feel inspired to expand a promising IP, but someone else may. By themselves, the devs may be unable or unwilling to transfer the IP to another group. A good pub can do that. Fallout 3 and NV might not exist if Interplay didn't own the rights and then sold them to Bethesda. The same is true of KotOR II and NWN 2.

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

@ypsallig 

I saw that too and thought it was like the USFL/NFL lawsuit where the USFL won but only was awarded $1 with treble damages (for a total of $3). But seeing it is an Eddie article, not surprised with the lack of editing. TO make matters worse, he did it twice in the same article. 

Carpetfluff
Carpetfluff

@dlCHIEF58 @ypsallig Heh, come on Eddie, if you're going to spend all day reading Polygon for your news stories at least copy and paste them correctly :P