Valve and Vivendi Bury the Crowbar
Valve Software and Vivendi Universal Games have reached an agreement regarding distribution rights for current (and possibly future) software releases.
Although there are no juicy details about punitive monies changing hands, this is definitely an interesting shakeup for the game industry with regard to the developer/publisher relationship. What this means for the future of software distribution is yet unclear.
Valve and VU Games Settle Legal Dispute; End Partnership
Valve and Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games) announced today in a rather terse press release that they have settled the suit filed by Valve nearly 3 years ago in August of 2002. This settlement has lead to an end of the longstanding and no doubt expensive legal dispute between the two companies, meaning a dismissal of all claims and counterclaims. Financial terms of the out-of-court settlement were not disclosed.
Despite the lack of any announcement on the fiscal exchange (if any) in the deal, the companies outlined the other terms of the agreement. VU Games will cease distribution of retail packaged versions of Valve's titles, such as Half-Life, Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and Counter-Strike: Source effective August 31, 2005. Furthermore, VU Games has notified distributors and cyber cafes that were licensed by VU Games that only Valve is authorized to distribute Valve games to cyber cafes and grant cyber cafe licenses. Cyber cafe operators that were licensed by VU Games have also been notified that any license agreement from that company, Sierra Entertainment or any of their affiliates or distributors that may have granted rights to use Valve games in cyber cafes is hereby null and void.
It is unclear whether or not VU Games has retained the publishing duties for Half-Life 2 on Xbox. It is also unknown if Valve will eventually find another publisher or self publish its future titles.
The "rather terse" press release from VUGames.com can be found here.
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