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Flash deal site sells game for $1 without developer permission

UPDATE A British indie studio and its publisher are involved in a public imbroglio over the studio's game Standpoint, which was put on sale for a minimum price of $1 at a flash deal site without permission.

Alex Wawro

May 27, 2015

3 Min Read

"We didn't authorize this! We weren't informed of this... This is my worst nightmare."

- Unruly Attractions co-founder Nathan John posts to Reddit after discovering the studio's game is being sold for $1 without its permission.

British indie studio Unruly Attractions and publisher Bulkypix are involved in a public imbroglio over the studio's recently-released puzzle game Standpoint, which was apparently put on sale today for a minimum pay-what-you-want price of $1 at a flash deal site without either the developer or publisher's permission.

Studio co-founder Nathan John jumped into a Reddit thread announcing the $1 deal to express his shock and dismay, commenting that "we didn't authorize this" (though he later pointed out that nobody was contractually obligated to get permission before putting the game on sale) and later updating to say that "seems like no-one knows how on earth this happened."

Both Bulkypix and its business partner Plug In Digital (who is responsible for copies of Standpoint appearing on the flash deal site) took to Twitter this morning to publicly apologize, though the Standpoint flash sale is still ongoing.

"We’ve not been e-mailed, and haven’t heard anything from lawyers as yet,” John told Kotaku, who followed up the story after it broke on Reddit. “From my perspective, it’s just made a bad position far worse, even if it was just an accident. These last few days have been exhausting."

John went on to shed light on what he describes as an ongoing "legal disagreement" between Unruly Attractions and Bulkypix, and his comments elucidate the often tricky back-and-forth between developers and publishers about how a game should be priced, marketed and released. 

You can read those comments and further details on the story, which is still developing, over on Kotaku.

Update: A representative of Indie Game Stand (the website which is currently still selling copies of Standpoint for a minimum price of $1) reached out to Gamasutra to offer their side of the story.

"I was appalled when we got an email from the developer the morning of the Standpoint sale. Lucky for us, he has been really responsive and understanding of our predicament since we had no knowledge that he didn't consent to the deal. This is actually the first time I've ever heard of a publisher leasing a game to another publisher then publishing on our platform," wrote the representative, taking pains to assert that "we were just as duped as the developer."

The representative went on to state that "we are not proud of having this deal still up on our site without the developer's consent and are doing our part to do the right thing," but that trying to take the deal down before its scheduled end, swap in a new deal and deal with angry customers would be a "nightmare." 

"We are in communication with Plug In Digital and the developer and hope to work it out so that we can pay the developer directly so that BulkyPix does not profit from this deal," added the Indie Game Stand representative. "We have a direct line to the developer and will do our best to support him so that he profits from his creation and the sale on our site."

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