A lot of people in the gaming community may not be aware of Frogwares, but they’ve more than likely heard of their long running Sherlock Holmes series, as well as their recent title, The Sinking City. So it’s safe to assume that the fan base is there, which makes this a rather unfortunate situation as the developer has announced some of their games have been removed from multiple digital storefronts, and they fear that more will follow suit.
This is due to their deal with longtime publisher, Focus Home Interactive, coming to an end. Unfortunately, this has now resulted with latter refusing to give them the rights those store listings. Frogwares released a lengthy statement in regards to this, where it mentions that the publisher has told them that they have a policy of not transferring title ID’s that they no longer do business with. “Focus has put in place a policy in accordance with which they will not transfer any title – the content ID or title ID – belonging to any developer which has removed all of their games from the Focus catalog.”
Attention: an important message from our studio. pic.twitter.com/HqMA8Du8iE
— Frogwares (@Frogwares) September 26, 2019
Frogwares goes on to state that this policy was never mentioned by the publisher in their contracts, and had never been applied to them before with previous titles. Obviously, Frogwares is furious, and is currently in the process of trying to rectify this situation before it gets even worse. However, the developer has confirmed that some titles have already been taken down from Sony’s and Microsoft’s storefronts, with Steam’s store still questionable. The games affected by this are as follows; Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes and Magrunner: Dark Pulse, and Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper.
The real issue is that Focus Home Interactive cannot legally sell these titles without the proper consent of Frogwares, as they do not own the IP’s, merely the ID’s for the retail stores. Therefore, if an agreement is not made in a timely manner, all of the affected titles might never come back to their respective storefronts. This is most prevelant to the popular Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment, which is set to be removed from all stores on September 29.
Things are looking a bit dire at the moment and Frogwares is fully aware that if their games are not listed in the fullest capacity, then major consequences will befall them; ” We are losing all revenue attached to these games, some an unknown period of time and for other games, forever.” Thankfully, The Sinking City has not been touched by this due to having a different publisher, Bigben Interactive. Still, we hope that Frogwares can rebound from this predicament, as we all know that the video game market is an ever changing beast that usually takes no prisoners.
Focus Home Interactive has not commented on the situation, and it’s more than likely that unless something drastic happens, we won’t be hearing from them about it. We’ll be keeping an eye on this story as it develops and will let you know about any major updates from either side.