Steam Greenlight game 1953-KGB Unleashed controversy

Skops

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I looked around on the site and haven't seen any news on this and I feel like it should be known. Yesterday, Steam Greenlight added 1953-KGB Unleashed to the store for $8.49(US), as it turns out, the developers are not getting a cent.

Home / News20 September 2013 , 18:20
The game " Phobos 1953" was illegally released on Steam
In the stronghold of the PC gaming license suffered embarrassment .

Adventure game "Phobos 1953" recently appeared on Steam called 1953 - KGB Unleashed. As it turned out , illegally. One of the developers of the game , George Beloglasov on his page on the social networking site Facebook has commented on the situation as follows :

" I know this sounds surreal , but there is a pirate localization into English. During the development of the game, we have not received a cent , and no report , even though the contract issuer is required to pay us the first sold copy . Of course, we will not stay on the sidelines. We will seek out the legal control of the game account , once it has passed Greenlight. While we gon only one recommendation - do not buy it . "

Currently representatives Phantomery Interactive Studios are trying to gain control of the game account . "If 1953 just will be removed from Steam, - said Gmbox Beloglasov - that benefits no one ."

Adventure "Phobos 1953 " was released in 2010 and it is the pre-history of the Russian film "Phobos" , which was shown on March 25 of that year. The game's plot revolves around an underground bunker laboratory in which experiments were conducted on human beings for the purpose of identification of the limitations of the human brain , the ability of people to pass each other at a distance of thought and the impact of fear on the minds of the subjects.

The game has received a number of awards from the specialized media and Russian award for "Best Adventure Game " from the jury the Game Developers Conference 2009 .

I used Google translate mostly because of my laziness
 

Smooth Operator

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Well that sounds plain awful, but I don't really understand what happened.
Did they get shafted by their publisher or the guys who translated their game?

I'm also not quite sure why they didn't contact Steam while this was still in greenlight hell... could have sorted it out by now, just very very strange the whole thing.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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Sep 10, 2008
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This is a weird case, from what little resarch I can do on my phone tgis George guy appears to be part of the company that did the Greenlight.

OP could you provide some links, it doesn't matter what language.

I'll look into this when I get back to my PC.
 

Skops

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so a point and click game from 2010 re- emerged as another title on steam and the devs dont get a cent from it.

sound like the devs also did some shady things from their side...
 

TheYellowCellPhone

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Uh, link? Just curious to see the original page, even if it isn't in English.

For the most part, I'm interested in what the company knows and what they don't know. Was the Greenlight plagiarism the start of the problem?
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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Skops said:
Well, that was a strange trip.

Without the original links I had to do some digging.

I cannot find George Beloglasov, but I did find a George Beloglazov, also known as Geogogiy Beloglazov who worked on both Metro 2033's and Phobos 1953 soundtrack with a group called Anthesteria.

This information helped me to hit paydirt, with the original article: http://gmbox.ru/news/igra-fobos-1953-byla-nelegalno-vypushchena-v-steam and the facebook page in question.

Running the correct names I also managed to find the Steamcommunity thread http://steamcommunity.com/app/248490/discussions/0/846965056726131560/ that the OP might have gotten his/her information from. The publisher, a german company called UiG claims that there is a contract between themselves, another Russian publisher and the developers of Phobos 1953 Phantomery for the rights to the game outside of Russia.

Also in the thread some thoughtful person brought up several links of the game being sold on other sides like Desura and Amazon, with the Amazon version having been released on the 6th of July 2012.

http://www.amazon.com/Layernet-1953-KGB-Unleashed-Download/dp/B00943XOE8
http://www.desura.com/games/1953-kgb-unleashed
http://www.gamersgate.com/DD-1953/1953-kgb-unleashed
https://secure.simmarket.com/1953-kgb-unleashed.phtml

So currently it looks like this issue was created due to a misunderstanding between the developer and publishers.

And OP? While trawling through the internet was fun and all, could you please provide links to the articles you quote?
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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TheYellowCellPhone said:
Uh, link? Just curious to see the original page, even if it isn't in English.

For the most part, I'm interested in what the company knows and what they don't know. Was the Greenlight plagiarism the start of the problem?
Here you go.

Original Article: http://gmbox.ru/news/igra-fobos-1953-byla-nelegalno-vypushchena-v-steam

Possible way OP found said article and more information about the issue: http://steamcommunity.com/app/248490/discussions/0/846965056726131560/

From the looks of things, the plagiarism (or misunderstanding if UiG is telling the truth) has been going on since the release of 1953 KGB Unleashed on Amazon on the 6th of July 2012.

For the moment I can't find any information about this Russian Publisher that sold the worldwide rights to UiG but just follow the Steamcommunity thread, I found the bulk of my information from there.
 

CriticalMiss

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Ed130 said:
Well, that makes it sound a lot less malicious if there is just a misunderstanding. But even if someone is handling foreign distribution wouldn't the developers still get some money for the work they did?
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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CriticalMiss said:
Ed130 said:
Well, that makes it sound a lot less malicious if there is just a misunderstanding. But even if someone is handling foreign distribution wouldn't the developers still get some money for the work they did?
It really depends on what the deal was between UiG, this unnamed Russian publisher and its contract with Phantomery, worst case scenario the devs could see nothing from Steam or other sales from western stores.

However UiG seems really apologetic in its posts, stating that it was now in attempting to contact the Devs directly and hoping that they could help with another game they made called Sublustrum.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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Right, more digging has managed to turn this simple accusation into a clusterfuck.

UiG, who put up the Greenlight have an agreement with Koch Media, the owners of Deep Silver. So its likely that the company is legitimate.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/pressreleases/80066/UIG_Entertainment_cooperates_with_Koch_Media.php

And then things get really fun.

The game in question was also released onto western markets by a company by the name of Ikaron for England (and apparently New Zealand) in 10/08/2012. Further digging shows that Ikaron seems to be a part of Paradox Interactive and deals with British Releases.

Phobos 1953 British version: http://www.advantagedistribution.co.uk/products/view/productid/13653/phobos-1953

Phobos 1953 New Zealand: http://www.mightyape.co.nz/product/PC-Games/Phobos-1953/20988790/

the British version of Europa Universalis IV, A paradox Interactive game shown being released by Ikaron : http://www.amazon.com/Europa-Universalis-IV-PC-DVD-UK/dp/B00DQKB6EK/ref=sr_1_1?s=videogames&ie=UTF8&qid=1379771075&sr=1-1

It currently looks like that UiG are allowed to distribute the game in Germany and possibly online while Ikaron can distribute to England and possibly Scandinavian countries.

Now, the question is who is the publisher that can legally use the Steam Store to sell the game worldwide?
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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Whew, the current situation looks like this:

Ikaron handles all physical sales for Britain (and presumably English).

UiG got both Scandinavia and Benelux as well as "the rights on all online sites due to a contract for a period of time." Apparently this includes Steam.

So until the Dev comes forward to explain his side there isn't much else to do but wait.