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MrAbidDin

Who owns the IP?

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I read somewhere that the outer worlds trademark was owned by obsidian while the game is being published by private division. Who owns the IP? What does it mean for future installments in the universe? Will it be like Mass Effect where the first game was published by Microsoft while the latter games were published by EA since Bioware owned the IP when they got bought?

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As far as I've hears, Microsoft let Obsidian retain the IP and 2K Interactive's Private Devision label owns the publishing rights.


"The light inside has broken, but I still work!" -Vending Machine, 2018 AD

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Obsidian and Microsoft own the IP.

 

I was pretty sure they said Obsidian fully retained rights the the IP.


"The light inside has broken, but I still work!" -Vending Machine, 2018 AD

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As far as I've hears, Microsoft let Obsidian retain the IP and 2K Interactive's Private Devision label owns the publishing rights.

 

 

Obsidian and Microsoft own the IP.

 

I was pretty sure they said Obsidian fully retained rights the the IP.

 

 

 

That's not how it works.  When one company buys another company they own that entire company, all assets including, debt, IP's

 

Obsidian isn't own separate entity now.  They're apart of Microsoft, they're all Microsoft employees.

 

If Microsoft wanted to they could fire everyone at Obsidian, sell off the studio and turn Outer Worlds into a card game.

 

Best example, EA bought Bioware, they now own Jade Empire, Mass Effect, Dragon Age even though Microsoft published the first Mass Effect

 

Or, Microsoft bought Lionhead, even though Lionhead is closed, Microsoft still owns the Fable IP and Playground Games is making it

 

Obsidian is NOT it's own entity anymore

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That might be how it works, but it does depends on the purchase contract and whether Obsidian is still a legally separate entity. See Bungie for example, owned by MS, but bought itself out from MS and they rather than MS own for example Marathon* (trademark serial 77953184, if anyone is interested) which they developed before being bought by MS. OTOH they don't own Halo, but that was classic work for hire.

 

In any case, significant changes to tOW outside the scope of the existing contract such as making it a CCG would require one of three things: approval from 2k/PD, buying 2k/PD out of the contract or breaking the agreement and ending up in court. As a pre-existing contract at time of purchase MS is obligated to honour it whatever managerial control they do or do not have over Obsidian.

 

*I was once asked to supply some questions for a Bungie Q&A which weren't standard Halo or Destiny development (at that time) ones for a bit of variety. Apparently the guy asked was quite pleased to get a question about Marathon for a change, confirmed they owned it but said there were no plans to use it.

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The IP is probably still "attatched" to Obsidian, meaning if Obsidian wants to buy themselves back they might be able to cleanly take their IPs with them. Not that Microsoft would allow it, I'm sure they'd transfer away most of the IPs if they let Obsidian go, but if they deemed something of little interest that the owner's wanted another crack at then it's be far easier to just leave this stuff attached for now.

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That might be how it works, but it does depends on the purchase contract and whether Obsidian is still a legally separate entity. See Bungie for example, owned by MS, but bought itself out from MS and they rather than MS own for example Marathon* (trademark serial 77953184, if anyone is interested) which they developed before being bought by MS. OTOH they don't own Halo, but that was classic work for hire.

 

In any case, significant changes to tOW outside the scope of the existing contract such as making it a CCG would require one of three things: approval from 2k/PD, buying 2k/PD out of the contract or breaking the agreement and ending up in court. As a pre-existing contract at time of purchase MS is obligated to honour it whatever managerial control they do or do not have over Obsidian.

 

*I was once asked to supply some questions for a Bungie Q&A which weren't standard Halo or Destiny development (at that time) ones for a bit of variety. Apparently the guy asked was quite pleased to get a question about Marathon for a change, confirmed they owned it but said there were no plans to use it.

Contracts are everything
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"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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That might be how it works, but it does depends on the purchase contract and whether Obsidian is still a legally separate entity. See Bungie for example, owned by MS, but bought itself out from MS and they rather than MS own for example Marathon* (trademark serial 77953184, if anyone is interested) which they developed before being bought by MS. OTOH they don't own Halo, but that was classic work for hire.

 

In any case, significant changes to tOW outside the scope of the existing contract such as making it a CCG would require one of three things: approval from 2k/PD, buying 2k/PD out of the contract or breaking the agreement and ending up in court. As a pre-existing contract at time of purchase MS is obligated to honour it whatever managerial control they do or do not have over Obsidian.

 

*I was once asked to supply some questions for a Bungie Q&A which weren't standard Halo or Destiny development (at that time) ones for a bit of variety. Apparently the guy asked was quite pleased to get a question about Marathon for a change, confirmed they owned it but said there were no plans to use it.

 

Bungie was never it's own entity and they never bought themselves out.  Microsoft allowed them to split as long as they made Reach and they also kept equity in Bungie (they actually made money off of Bungie with Destiny even though it was a multiplat)

 

Bungie's ownership was no different than Lionhead, Turn 10 or any other studio MS owned.  They were never their own entity but it was more beneficial for Microsoft to not have to fund anymore of their games (the Halo's were expensive games to make) and still make money off of them (equity in the company).  The split was beneficial for Microsoft becaus they were making money off Destiny without ever paying a dime for it vs funding Bungies expensive projects.   

 

Had Microsoft truly wanted to they could of simply closed Bungie down like they did Lionhead, but still kept all the IP's like they did Fable (Playground is making the next Fable)  In fact some companies wanted to buy Lionhead but they backed off when Microsoft didn't want to sell the Fable IP.  Lionhead had no value outside of it.  

 

Keep in mind, Microsoft didn't even buy Lionhead until 2006, well after the first Fable came out.  Closed them down in 2016, still have the Fable IP.  

 

As far as Marathons ownership goes, my guess is Microsoft didn't care, it was an old obscure IP and never saw the light of day, the real value was with Halo which they gave to 343i.  Probably let Bungie keep it in exchange for making then happy, having them make Reach and most importantly getting that equity stake in them.  

 

https://www.zdnet.com/article/five-reasons-why-the-bungie-microsoft-split-is-a-smart-move-for-microsoft/

 

Pretty good read, Microsoft makes money off Bungie to this day because they have an equity in them and pay zero to developing any of their projects.  They probably made a killing off of how well Destiny did this gen.  

 

Plus Bungie was always a clusterf*ck of management, if you watch the Halo 1-3 dev videos it was a complete development nightmare, especially Halo 2 with how much they had to cut from the game due to the limitations of the OG Xbox.

 

The IP is probably still "attatched" to Obsidian, meaning if Obsidian wants to buy themselves back they might be able to cleanly take their IPs with them. Not that Microsoft would allow it, I'm sure they'd transfer away most of the IPs if they let Obsidian go, but if they deemed something of little interest that the owner's wanted another crack at then it's be far easier to just leave this stuff attached for now.

 

There's no such thing as buying themselves back.  This isn't ownership by owning a majority of the shares of a company (Bungie and Obsidian were never publicly traded companies and never had stocks to buy) this is a full on acquisition similar to EA buying Bioware, or Microsoft buying Lionhead. 

 

The only way Obsidian would ever stop being part of MIcrosoft is if Microsoft allowed it, in one of the following ways

 

1) they get closed down like Lionhead, Microsoft would keep TOW IP and whatever else Obsidian makes (Feargus himself owns Pillars) like they kept Fable and give it to someone else like they're giving Fable to Playground

 

2) Microsoft sells them off, unlikely.  Companies offered to buy Lionhead but backed off when Microsoft wouldn't sell the Fable IP.  Plus MS isn't hurting for cash

 

3) They get the Bungie deal and Microsoft LETS them split for economic benefit rather then continue to fund them.  Unlikely again because Microsoft 2006 isn't the same as Microsoft 2018.  Way different leadership, way different mindset and way different future plans.  The biggest reason why Bungie split is because Microsoft wanted them to keep making Halo

 

Phil Spencer and Matt Booty are adamant on giving the studios they own 100% creative control, they're not going to lock them down to one franchise.  In fact Obsidian is apparently working on another project aside TOW and Pillars right now too so they clearly are making new stuff and getting it 100% bank rolled, there's no reason for them to want to split.  

Edited by batosaims
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One firm to rule them all!

Blackrock.

 

EDIT: Lol, WoW typo. I meant Dark Rock Industries.

Edited by IndiraLightfoot

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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The IP is probably still "attatched" to Obsidian, meaning if Obsidian wants to buy themselves back they might be able to cleanly take their IPs with them. Not that Microsoft would allow it, I'm sure they'd transfer away most of the IPs if they let Obsidian go, but if they deemed something of little interest that the owner's wanted another crack at then it's be far easier to just leave this stuff attached for now.

 

There's no such thing as buying themselves back.  This isn't ownership by owning a majority of the shares of a company (Bungie and Obsidian were never publicly traded companies and never had stocks to buy) this is a full on acquisition similar to EA buying Bioware.

 

The only way Obsidian would ever stop being part of MIcrosoft is if Microsoft allowed it, in one of the following ways

 

1) they get closed down like Lionhead, Microsoft would keep TOW IP and whatever else Obsidian makes (Feargus himself owns Pillars) like they kept Fable and give it to someone else like they're giving Fable to Playground

 

2) Microsoft sells them off, unlikely.  Companies offered to buy Lionhead but backed off when Microsoft wouldn't sell the Fable IP.  Plus MS isn't hurting for cash

 

3) They get the Bungie deal and Microsoft LETS them split for economic benefit rather then continue to fund them.  Unlikely again because Microsoft 2006 isn't the same as Microsoft 2018.  Way different leadership, way different mindset and way different future plans.  The biggest reason why Bungie split is because Microsoft wanted them to keep making Halo

 

Phil Spencer and Matt Booty are adamant on giving the studios they own 100% creative control, they're not going to lock them down to one franchise.  In fact Obsidian is apparently working on another project aside TOW and Pillars right now too so they clearly are making new stuff and getting it 100% bank rolled, there's no reason for them to want to split.  

 

 

Are you just using me as a target to get out your two cents out or are you actually trying to engage with what I said? I'm talking about the hypothetical future mobility in relation to Obsidian and it's IPs, which is in keeping with this thread's premise. Which is why I say "if Obs wants to buy themselves back," as "in the event that." Obviously they have good prospects with Microsoft right now, I don't know why you need to inform me on this. You know private shares are a thing right? Not sure why you think I need taught about hostile acquisitions. So "there is no such thing as buying themselves back," except apparently if one of three things happens. Well I'm referring to a Bungie-like scenario in my original post, and they were for example allowed to keep Marathon. Certainly not the valuable IP of the bunch. Though, why do you keep informing me of the very things that I touch on myself?

 

Then I also say that in departing it's unlikely Obsidian would keep the valuable IPs in such a scenario, hence me saying "not that Microsoft would allow it." Then you once again point out to me how unlikely it is that Microsoft would allow this. Like what are you even trying to say dude? You're trying to educate me on the very thing was was talking about, but additionally reading into things I didn't say just to educate me more or something? All while being hyperbolic with the premise of "there being no such thing." What in the outer worlds are you attempting here?

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Bungie was never it's own entity

Sure it was, otherwise MS couldn't have bought them.

 

and they never bought themselves out.

 

Sure they did. They were wholly owned by MS, now they're now privately owned with a minority MS stake. That's bought out, by those who own the company- including for example the original studio founder, so bought out by themselves. Exactly how and why that happened can only be speculation, but it seems extremely unlikely that MS just decided randomly to let their most successful gaming acquisition go.

 

Microsoft allowed them to split as long as they made Reach and they also kept equity in Bungie (they actually made money off of Bungie with Destiny even though it was a multiplat)

MS allowed them to split for [some reason] despite them being responsible for the games that popularised xbox. And you know how MS would have made even more money? Own Destiny outright, or have Bungie do Halo until Ragnarok. Instead Activision gets a big slice of money MS doesn't, and it's on PS as well as xbox.

 

Bungie's ownership was no different than Lionhead, Turn 10 or any other studio MS owned.

 

Except Bungie is now independent, Lionhead etc aren't. Bungie was Microsoft's most successful acquisition, yet they let them go indie... out of the goodness of their heart? Or because they wanted to retain failing studios rather than successful ones? I mean, a lot of people didn't have much time for Steve Ballmer as a CEO, but he isn't that stupid.

 

but it was more beneficial for Microsoft to not have to fund anymore of their games (the Halo's were expensive games to make) and still make money off of them (equity in the company).

 

They made truckloads more money than the games cost and shifted a lot of xboxes, probably more than any other franchise. It would be like 2k deciding that Rockstar should become indie because GTAV and RDR2 would be expensive games then patting themselves on the back for saving that 200 million dollars; never mind missing out on the billions of revenue the games brought in.

 

Had Microsoft truly wanted to they could of simply closed Bungie down like they did Lionhead, but still kept all the IP's like they did Fable (Playground is making the next Fable)

 

They probably could have, but we don't know.

 

As far as Marathons ownership goes, my guess is Microsoft didn't care, it was an old obscure IP and never saw the light of day, the real value was with Halo which they gave to 343i.  Probably let Bungie keep it in exchange for making then happy, having them make Reach and most importantly getting that equity stake in them.

You spend 90% of the post saying that MS could do anything they wanted to with Bungie, anything at all including subsuming its IPs and shutting it down.

 

So, why would MS be trying to get goodwill from and settle for a minority stake in their own wholly owned subsidiary/ division/ whatever their legal definition? Just keep the ownership of everything, no need for goodwill or settling for one additional Halo title, you can have them churn Halo titles biannually till the end of time and Bungie would have no say because they're wholly owned and have no independent existence.

 

Fact of the matter is the situation with Bungie is far from clear, but it clearly wasn't the same situation as Lionhead and the like. It's also not the only management buy out, I/O Interactive management bought themselves out from under Squeenix (albeit Squeenix wanted out, still seems highly unlikely MS wanted out of Bungie).

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The IP is probably still "attatched" to Obsidian, meaning if Obsidian wants to buy themselves back they might be able to cleanly take their IPs with them. Not that Microsoft would allow it, I'm sure they'd transfer away most of the IPs if they let Obsidian go, but if they deemed something of little interest that the owner's wanted another crack at then it's be far easier to just leave this stuff attached for now.

Microsoft not letting anyone keep anything if they dare separate from them? Sounds just like Microsoft. ****ing cut throat, they are.

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Microsoft not letting anyone keep anything if they dare separate from them? Sounds just like Microsoft. ****ing cut throat, they are.

It wouldn't be fair for them not to keep IP's, Microsoft works like an investor in that they give money to Obsidian, take care of marketing, funding and so forth so like any wise investor, they want something to make up for any loss that might occur. To consumers it makes Microsoft appear evil but for anyone that has a real understanding on business, this move doesn't make Microsoft any worse than Obsidian being ungreatful and leaving/abandoning contract.

Edited by SonicMage117
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Just what do you think you're doing?! You dare to come between me and my prey? Is it a habit of yours to scurry about, getting in the way and causing bother?

 

What are you still bothering me for? I'm a Knight. I'm not interested in your childish games. I need my rest.

 

Begone! Lest I draw my nail...

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I an interview with IGN's Ryan Mccaffrey, Josh Sawyer said that a company is know by its IP so now we are making our own IP.

Pillars and The Outer World is Obsidian's IP.  Now I don't know if sometime Microsoft and Obsidian goes for a divorce who owns these IPs.

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