Paradox Fully Embraces Fan Games With Developer Affiliate Program
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When it comes to fan-made video games using an established IP address, the vast majority of cases tend to result in a narrow set of responses from the original creators or publishers. Nintendo’s way is to go all nuclear as often and immediately as possible, destroying all attempts. Take 2 follows a similar path, though it also includes legal action. Sega, on the other hand, mostly ignores fans who create their own games using Sega IP, sometimes even mildly approving of this behavior. And it’s… sort of. Nuke or ignore.
But some developers and publishers are willing to try other avenues. Recently, Paradox, creators of the popular TTRPG franchise and video games Vampire: The Masqueradedeployed a sort of fan-developer affiliate program called world of darkness unboundin which fans can create licensed fan-games in the Vampire universe and even benefit from it.
paradox said the unrelated program was inspired by the success of the recent Vampire Jamin which nearly 90 developers had a month to create games based on Vampire: The Masquerade’s world of darkness mythos. “Although we can only award one grand prize to heartless lullabywe knew we had to create a platform that allowed our community to work on the projects they love while giving them the support they needed to succeed,” World of Darkness Community Developer Martyna Zych said in a statement.
Developers who participate in the Unbound Program will receive “a personal, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable, royalty-bearing right and license” in the World of Darkness Intellectual Property “to develop, locate, publish, sell, distribute, promote and advertise” their game, according to an extended license agreement.
Now, Paradox isn’t just doing this out of the goodness of its heart. The company will take a one-third cut of net revenue from any of these games. That’s a high percentage when you compare it to the kinds of cuts taken by marketplaces like Steam… but it’s a much healthier deal for fan game developers compared to legal threats, lawsuits, and DMCA notices.
And what that really represents is a shift in how a game company can not only stop fighting fans who want to express their fandom, but also a way to economically arm those fans instead. And the license offered by Paradox gives the company some quality control over the games that come out. The company has the right to review all games before they are released and there are rules by which a game must operate such as the types of settings they take place in and that these fan games cannot use confusing terms in their titles that would lead the public to believe that they were games made by Paradox.
So it’s not a complete liberation of fans to be able to create whatever they want… but it’s not a bad compromise either. And that certainly represents a paradigm shift in how a large publisher deals with the simple fact that they have fans who are also creative.
If successful, wider industry adoption could very well be a thing.
Filed Under: affiliate program, fan games, vampire, video games