Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ComputerSpaceFan

can 1st parties FORCE 3rd parties?

Recommended Posts

This is a legal / contractual question.
If Microsoft decided they wanted to increase XBox One sales by killing 360 support, could they tell third parties to no longer make 360 versions of their games?

Historically the answer would be no, I mean that's how Activision started afterall by being allowed legally to make Atari 2600 games without Atari's permission, but in the present day where games like Titanfall can be released only for one manufacturer's consoles, I'm just curious if Microsoft could give, let's say Ubisoft a pile of money to say "only make Assassin's Creed 6 for XBox One, no 360 version".

Regardless of how sensible such a notion would be (personally I think Ubisoft would be nuts to accept such a suicidal contract), is there a legal precedent for Microsoft to do that?

 

I'm not bad-mouthing the XBox One here, I just think in an industry that still creates season passes and paid premiums even on the newest generation is an industry that probably can't support a third part developer reducing their potential sales numbers by only making new-gen games if the manufacturer forces them to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose they could legally (the code needed to run software on XBox is closed source) but why would they? Microsoft gets a cut from every software sale, whether it be for 360 or XBone. They still sell plan on selling 360s for the next few years as well.

 

If MS hadn't pulled back from the always on requirement and XBone had completely flopped at launch, then maybe I could see them doing something like forcing XBone only support as a last ditch effort to save it. Of course, in this scenario doing so would almost certainly cause most publishers to flock to PS4, giving Sony a complete victory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They could refuse to provide support through XBOX live if they aren't already contractually obligated to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Historically the answer would be yes. There is all sorts of financial and legal pressures console makers can apply - including revoking licenses and threatening distributors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Historically the answer would be yes. There is all sorts of financial and legal pressures console makers can apply - including revoking licenses and threatening distributors.

 

Exactly -- all Microsoft would have to do is revoke/limit the third-party company's license to produce games for the other console. A contract can specify all sorts of conditions and restrictions. Unless the terms are explicitly illegal, courts will generally uphold them.

 

Look also at the issues that Tengen and, even more so, Wisdom Tree had with their games for the NES into mainstream retailers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Legally I don't think so. You can decide who makes what software for whatever. That said, what happens "behind closed doors" is anyone's guess. I don't think billionaire CEOs care too much about following the law, as long as they don't get caught.

 

TheLoon hit it on the head, these companies will do anything to have everything their own way

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a legal / contractual question.

If Microsoft decided they wanted to increase XBox One sales by killing 360 support, could they tell third parties to no longer make 360 versions of their games?

 

 

Yes. They did that with the original Xbox.

 

MS did not want it to compete with the 360. That's why support stopped for it basically across the board by everyone at the same time. MS also refused to drop its MSRP below $179.99 for this same reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes. They did that with the original Xbox.

Similar PSP things happened when the Vita came out. PSP consoles vanished overnight.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the OP, but that's not what's being asked. I think the question asked here is could they legally force a company to say Game X can ONLY come out on XB1, not X360, while other publishers are still putting out 360 games. Of course they could pay to do that (exclusivity deal). They can also stop approving titles for the 360 any time they want (like every console maker does eventually for old systems). Whether or not they can tell one publisher that one specific title won't be approved seems more of a non-obvious question. I don't think it'd ever realistically come up. It'd kill the relationship with that publisher, and if they're allowing other 3rd party titles on the system I'm not sure what they'd gain. Seems more likely they'd pay for exclusivity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Historically the answer would be yes. There is all sorts of financial and legal pressures console makers can apply - including revoking licenses and threatening distributors.

Microsoft has gotten busted in court for that kind of behavior in the past but you know they will still do it as long as they think they have more to gain than loose.

Legal action takes years and the damage is done long before anything would ever see the inside of a courtroom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know the XBOX and PSP things were different cases, just demonstrating the power that the big companies have over retailers. Wal-Mart could have sold a fifty dollar PSP like they did with the GBA, but they didn't.

 

However, I think paying off 3rd parties is probably the easier route for them. They don't need the game to be an exclusive. They just need the game to be an exclusive for about 6 months or through Christma, when the majority of their sales take place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thankfully it seems that developers are being allowed to finish their last generation games. Persona 4 is sometime 2014 and there's even a "Tales of" game being released in 2015.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...