The Sinking City Pulled from Steam by Developer Frogwares’ DMCA

The SInking City

The Sinking City has been pulled from Steam, after Nacon were accused of uploading a hacked copy of the game from another store, and Frogwares issued a DMCA.

As previously reported, The Sinking City had been pulled from major retailers in 2020 including Steam, due to a legal dispute with publisher Nacon. In an open letter, Frogwares accused Nacon of withholding royalties, presenting incomplete sales data, and misrepresenting The Sinking City intellectual property as belonging to Nacon among other allegations.

It was due to Nacon’s alleged mishandling of The Sinking City intellectual property, that Frogwares decided to remove the game from sale from some retailers.

They assured consumers that the game would still be available through retailers they directly work with; including Gamesplanet, Nintendo, and Origin. Nacon accused Frogwares of “seeking to discredit [them] in the eyes of the public and professionals alike,” and took legal action against them.

Nacon later released a statement, confirming The Sinking City had returned to the Xbox Store; and would return to Steam and the PlayStation Store later. At that time, the Steam store page for The Sinking City listed its release date as January 5th.

That statement came after the Paris Court of Appeal ruled in October 2020 that Frogwares had “terminated [its] contract in a ‘manifestly unlawful’ manner” when they removed the game from sale. The court stated the terms of the contract must be continued until after it had been decided if Nacon had breached it or not.

The game finally launched on February 26th on Steam, along with an announcement the game would be 60% off until March 5th. However, Frogwares soon tweeted that this was not their game“Frogwares has not created the version of @thesinkingcity that is today on sale on @Steam. We do not recommend the purchase of this version. More news soon.”

Frogwares later elaborated that Nacon had allegedly stole, hacked, changed the source code [of the game], and tried to cover up the reporting trail.” They claim Nacon had purchased The Sinking City from Gamesplanet, then modified it using an obtained encryption key to scrub nearly all traces of Gamesplanet. This version was then uploaded to Steam, under their own name.

In reply, Nacon stated that Frogwares “would like to revise the terms of the contract to their sole advantage. It’s easy to play the victim, but all we seek is that Frogwares respect its commitments both in the contract and as demanded by the courts.”

Regarding Frogwares’ claims- or “feedback” as Nacon put it- Nacon state that the game is “an official and complete version.” They claim the missing Steam features (cloud saves and achievements, allegedly removed to prevent online piracy checks) are “due to a lack of cooperation with Frogwares.”

At this time of writing, both of the game’s prior Steam URLs have been removed [12]. SteamDB– a third party website that tracks changes on Steam- notes the game was removed from Steam on March 2nd at 1:50 p.m. PT (4:50 p.m. ET). Vice reports that Frogwares had issued a DMCA to remove the game from Steam.

Valve Vice President of Marketing Doug Lombardi stated to Vice “The Sinking City has been in dispute in French courts for a while. An interim decision last fall appeared to give Nacon the right to distribute the game on Steam while the litigation proceeded. However, today we received a DMCA take-down notice for the version that Nacon recently shipped, so we have responded to that notice.”

At this time of writing, neither Frogwares or Nacon have issued another public statement.

The Sinking City is currently available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and coming soon to PlayStation 4. it is also available on Windows PC (via Steam).

Image: Steam (Currently delisted)

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Ryan was a former Niche Gamer contributor.

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