How Sony Lost The Rights To LIMBO

Greed, or just business?

Sony lost LIMBO to Microsoft (the game was out first on Xbox 360) because it wanted the rights to the IP entirely for itself, it has emerged.

IP, or intellectual property in this case, means the name, the brand, and it can mean the rights to do more with it without necessarily involving the developers down the line.

Who, here, declined Sony’s offer.

Speaking at Develop, SCE executive producer Pete Smith admitted that they were in talks to bring LIMBO exclusively to the PS3, talks which backfired, and meant Microsoft had the game to themselves for a whole year.

“I maybe shouldn’t say this, but we had issues when we were trying to sign Limbo because of the IP,” he said candidly and unexpectedly.

“There are obvious benefits to keeping it, but also to giving it up: you’re way more likely to get the deal,” he added. “Remember: 100 per cent of nothing is nothing. A publisher is much more likely to commit to marketing and merchandising if they own the IP.

“Sometimes all we want is protection so [developers] don’t make a game, finish it then go to one of our rivals,” he commented. “We look at IP on a case by case basis. With a bit of common sense, you can find common ground.”

LIMBO went on to sell over a million on 360 by the end of 2011.


  1. A massive loss for Sony. The second will be a sure hit I am sure.

  2. Great game! Glad it found its way to PS3 otherwise i’d never had played it.
    Gonna try an finish it now, been stuck in parts 4 a month (thank god 4 youtube)

  3. Well just look what happened to Joe Danger, which now appears to be a 360 exclusive…I can at the very least see why Sony would want control of an IP if it were to pay out for it in the first place.

  4. Greed is not good as Gordon Gecko didn’t say. Good game but personally I felt it was a little over rated but had some good puzzle mechanics and a great look. Didn’t really ‘get’ the game myself though.

    • I played it when I got in from work at midnight, put on some headphones, schmoked a bowl, and woke up around 4am. One of the best game experiences I’ve ever had.

  5. i can see both sides, sony don’t want a situation like what happened with Mass Effect.
    they publish it expecting it to be exclusive, and it ends up not being, thought the original is still console exclusive to the xbox.

    and the developers want to retain the rights to their ip, i bet bungie would have preferred to have retained ownership of the Halo ip.

    but in the end, like ms with their “we want it first or not at all” attitude, it’s sony and it’s customers that lost out.

  6. It’s obviously a massive loss, over a million by end of 2011 is phenomenal. However, I can’t help but wonder how many of those have both a 360 and a PS3. I may be wrong but i cant imagine the majority having both. As I only have a PS3, whilst annoyed at the wait, it was my only choice and therefore made no difference to me.

    We’ll never know if the figures would have matched if it was a PS3 exclusive. I think Sony’s attitude in this case was greedy and they paid for it but hindsight’s a wonderful thing. There is a part of me that thinks had it been multi platform from release, Microsoft probably still would have faired better.

    Live and learn, Sony.

    • Quite a few sales I would imagine came from PC also.

    • I never understood the phrase “hindsight is a wonderful thing” because its not, its rubbish. Never once have I thought “ooh, I’m glad I fucked that up”. I always think “for fucks sake I screwed that up” and get annoyed with myself. Anything but wonderful if you ask me (which you didn’t)

      • It’s usually said sarcastically around here. Either that or “hindsight’s a bitch” which is far more apt. :)

      • I believe it’s a sarcastic sentiment. At least that’s how I use it. Jeez, calm down, Tony, anyone would think I didn’t remove discs ;-P

      • Gasto, you fucking don’t, you fucking eject them now stop fucking pretending you remove them Ffs.

      • Tony, you seem to have forotten to like your comment. :P

      • forgotten even.

        Who stole my ‘g’?

    • hindsight is 20/20 is a more appropriate phrase.

  7. That’s business for ya… glad it finally came to PS3 though.

  8. Unfortunate for Sony though who could’ve guessed that, that dross would sell well over a million.

  9. I want to know how sony ended up with the rights to spiderman in all movies, i guess they probally pulled this kind of deal on marvle

  10. I take a positive from this – its good to know that Sony are recognising something good/indie/niche and are at least trying to get this, and possibly other titles, exclusively for us. I’d rather that than they not bother and MicroSoft grabs everything exclusively. So they lost this one, but we’ve had some pretty decent exclusives! Plus Sony probably got a lot of this money back by not wasting a shit load of cash getting the CoD DLC a month early.

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