Sony lost Limbo due to desire for IP rights

Executive producer Pete Smith admits firm was speaking with Playdead about releasing dark platformer exclusively on PSN, but insistence on retaining rights led to deal's undoing.

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Playdead's dark platformer Limbo could have launched exclusively on the PlayStation Network, but Sony's insistence on retaining the rights to the property led to a deal falling apart, Edge reports today. Speaking at a Develop Conference presentation about pitching games to publishers last week, Sony Computer Entertainment executive producer Pete Smith explained that there are positives for developers to keep game rights and to release them.

Sony's desire for Limbo's rights kept a deal off the table.
Sony's desire for Limbo's rights kept a deal off the table.

"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 per cent 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," he added. "We look at IP on a case by case basis. With a bit of common sense, you can find common ground."

Playdead ended up signing an agreement with Microsoft that saw Limbo launch first on Xbox Live Arcade in July 2010, and arrive a year later on PSN and PC. The game has sold over 1 million copies to date.

Limbo puts players in the shoes of a small child who must find his way through a black-and-white world filled with puzzles and dangerous, often deadly obstacles. The game won critical acclaim upon release, which was followed by a small avalanche of award nominations that yielded multiple Interactive Achievement Awards and a Game Developers Choice Award.

For more on Limbo, check out GameSpot's review.

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