The post you refer to says that they “bought out” the engine. What this means exactly, nobody except the involved parties know for sure. I bet they simply paid a lump sum of money to avoid to keep paying royalties. Acquiring the engine and its source code does not mean they suddenly own the IP, can resell engine licenses to third-parties, or anything like that. The real question is: did it come with a brand new contract, invalidating the previous GLA, or did they keep the same terms and conditions ?
The fact that Crytek did sue ( and better: with the #1 law firm in the US ) and the fact that Crytek’s statement / defense does not mention this acquisition, paints a pretty clear picture IMO. The GLA still applied. There’s no way both companies would have overlooked that.
I agree it sounded weird to me the first time I read it. Who in their right mind would agree to be bound by such a rigid term ? But remember that Crytek helped to make the tech demo and promote the 2012 KS. Lent some engineers and manpower to Chris Roberts for that. This was more than a simple licensing agreement: it was a real partnership. Crytek definitely had to get something back in return for their help. It wouldn’t have made sense for them to “invest” their time and money into Chris’s project without the insurance that he wouldn’t switch to a different engine the next year after his Kickstarter succeeded. So, thinking about it, I think this exclusivity clause actually makes a lot of sense for Crytek in the context of the Kickstarter.
Yeah, but the question ( at least in terms of damage ) is: did they show source code before Cryengine became free ( they switched last year IIRC ) ? Because if they did, they can argue that some financial damage was done.
They could even argue that they got in trouble now because CIG did not respect their agreement.
Did they never sell pre-orders for SQ42 before the switch to LY ?
How many people are interested in SQ42 more than SC and pledged money to them before that switch ?
Obviously it’s hard to answer, and I’m sure it’s gonna be a point of conflict in the upcoming debate between the parties, but it’s going to be hard to pretend it’s zero.
If half of the crowd-funding income went into SQ42 development ( art, motion capture, cinematics, missions/scripts ) before 2016 ( “half” is just for the sake of the argument, I obviously have no idea of the real ratio ), then that’s pretty much the amount on which Crytek can claim royalties + damage.
Yeah, that’s very true. But even in this case, it does not mean CIG is suddenly authorized to do everything they want with no consequences. SQ42 being a separate project for example, they should have seeked a separate license no matter what. It’s also no excuse for breaking their NDA. It might barely excuse the clauses related to doing active materials promotion and sending back the modified source code, but barely.
So CIG is in trouble no matter what the scenario is IMO, but it’s indeed possible that some claims might get invalidated before this ends.