Acclaim loses Turok, MLB licenses

Late royalty payments cost the struggling publisher two of its franchises.


Last week Acclaim sent waves through the game industry when, as part of its year-end financial reports, it revealed it could soon face bankruptcy. Yesterday it was again in the headlines when developer BattleBorne sent out a press release announcing that it was taking the troubled publisher to court over the delay of Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers.

While those two stories dominated the news, two more revelations buried within Acclaim's financial reports went largely unreported. As part of a 10-K report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company revealed that as of May 2004 its licensing agreement with the Major League Baseball Players' Association had ended due to late payment of royalties. Under the agreement, Acclaim had published the All-Star Baseball series since 1998. The latest installment, All-Star Baseball 2005, was released for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 this past April.

"We have made all required payments to the MLBPA and are current with our payment obligations with certain MLB players, however we have not reached agreement with the MLBPA regarding the other requested remedies and MLBPA is considering the license terminated," read the report.

Acclaim's 10-K also contained news that the publisher had lost another license. "In June 2004," read the report, "we received notification from Classic Media, Inc. the licensor of the intellectual property Turok, that due to failure to make certain royalty payments relating to the videogame title Turok: Evolution that our license agreement with Classic was terminated." The last Turok game release was 2002's Turok: Evolution, which was released on all current consoles and the Game Boy Advance.

Despite the MLBPA's and Classic's efforts, Acclaim remains hopeful that the disputes over both licenses can be worked out. "We disagree with MLBPA’s interpretation of the license agreement provisions and have advised them as such. We are in continued discussions with MLBPA on this matter," read the 10-K. "We are [also] in discussions with Classic in an effort to resolve this matter amicably."

When contacted by GameSpot, Acclaim staffers declined to comment on the status of the two licenses. "It's all in the 10-K," said one rep.

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