A publishing disagreement between independent Ukranian developer Frogwares and former publishing and distribution partner Focus Home Interactive is seeing Sherlock Holmes games disappearing from digital stores.
The Testament of Sherlock Holmes and Magrunner: Dark Pulse have already been removed the PlayStation Store for PS3, and both those games alongside Sherlock Holmes versus Jack The Ripper has been taken down from Xbox 360.
On 29th September, Sherlock Holmes Crime & Punishments will cease to be available across Steam, PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360.
The news was brought to light by Frogwares themselves who have complained that Focus have not acted in good faith as their Publishing and Distribution Agreement has come to an end, choosing to simply remove games from store fronts instead of transferring them over to Frogwares, who own the IP.
Attention: an important message from our studio. pic.twitter.com/HqMA8Du8iE
— Frogwares (@Frogwares) September 26, 2019
Focus’ official statement to Frogwares says, “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 their games from the Focus catalog.” This means that as publishing agreements expire, Focus will simply pull them from store.
Frogwares are in the process of setting up new store profiles for each platform, but in the instance that the games need to be re-submitted and re-certified it would be a costly process to do so and comply with more up to date SDKs and processes.
While there might not have been an explicit part of the contract with Focus saying that they must transfer digital listings back to Frogwares at the end of their agreement, it’s still a pretty crummy thing to do and leaves the developer with no income from their back catalogue.
Here’s hoping Focus see fit to adjust their policy, both for Frogwares and all the other developers working with them.