Setting classic games free

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Pat Hawks
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Setting classic games free

Post by Pat Hawks »

I am curious about the games that have been released as freeware for ScummVM.
  • Did the ScummVM team work with the publishers to convince them to release these games?
  • What would it take for other publishers to do the same for other games?
  • Could something like Kickstarter be used to raise money to buy the rights to an old game or two to release as freeware / open source?
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md5
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Re: Setting classic games free

Post by md5 »

Pat Hawks wrote: Did the ScummVM team work with the publishers to convince them to release these games?
Yes, in all cases there has been extensive discussions with the respective copyright owners.
Pat Hawks wrote: What would it take for other publishers to do the same for other games?
Discussions, convincing that it's a good idea :)
Pat Hawks wrote:Could something like Kickstarter be used to raise money to buy the rights to an old game or two to release as freeware / open source?
Nice idea! It could work, yes, but I'm unsure if it'll be successful...
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Strangerke
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Post by Strangerke »

We already had some internal discussions about a kickstarter campaign, but it's not obvious. But it would be a solution: buying the rights to legal owners then freeing the games...

Now I agree with Digitall, I don't think so many people would pay for that.
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md5
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Post by md5 »

Strangerke wrote:We already had some internal discussions about a kickstarter campaign, but it's not obvious. But it would be a solution: buying the rights to legal owners then freeing the games...

Now I agree with Digitall, I don't think so many people would pay for that.
Digitall? :p
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Post by Collector »

Strangerke wrote:We already had some internal discussions about a kickstarter campaign, but it's not obvious. But it would be a solution: buying the rights to legal owners then freeing the games...

Now I agree with Digitall, I don't think so many people would pay for that.
Depends on the game. You might find quite a few willing to give for Space Quest if for no other reason than to give rights for new SQ games from the Two Guys. Though I doubt that Activision would be willing to let it go for anything within range of a Kickstarter.
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Strangerke
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Post by Strangerke »

Sorry [md5], I'm tired :)

@collector: Last time I discussed that point, I was looking for a 6 digit amount...
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Post by Collector »

I have no idea what the old Sierra IPs would go for. I just suspect that Activision would ask for more than they are worth.
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Post by digitall »

ROFL... Well, for reference, my POV is that more freeware game releases would be good and are likely to be good for smaller studios to promote their newer games, by releasing the older ones in that way.

However, I tend to feel the blocker is not the money, but the desire to do so amongst their management ie. A kickstarter type would only work if the original rights holder starts it or has agreed to free the game for a set price prior to the start...
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Post by Collector »

It's an interesting concept, but I agree that it's pointless unless there is some prior arrangement with the IP holder.
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CaptainJei
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Post by CaptainJei »

I would absolutely donate to a kickstarter for the ip rights for Space Quest to go back to Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe. Or for Monkey Island to go back to Ron Gilbert.
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Pat Hawks
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Post by Pat Hawks »

Collector wrote:Though I doubt that Activision would be willing to let it go for anything within range of a Kickstarter.
Agreed 100%, but I wonder if some smaller indies would be at all receptive to something like this.
digitall wrote:A kickstarter type would only work if the original rights holder starts it or has agreed to free the game for a set price prior to the start...
Yes, it would take a lot of coordination, paperwork, and persuasion.
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Pat Hawks
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Re: Setting classic games free

Post by Pat Hawks »

md5 wrote:[…]in all cases there has been extensive discussions with the respective copyright owners.
I’m assuming the conversation was initiated by somebody on the ScummVM team. Did the copyright holders take a lot of persuading? What was that like?

I’m also assuming the copyright holders still own all rights to the game, and have just allowed them to be distributed for free on the ScummVM website, is that pretty much correct? What sort of license covers the freeware distribution? I can’t find any specifics.
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