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Former Gamecock CEO Discusses Company's Demise, Alleges Contractor Payment Issues

Gamecock's Mike Wilson has been discussing publisher's demise, chronicling <a href=http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=20633>its "lightspeed" sale</a> to competitor SouthPeak, and alleging that former Gamecock contractors have had troubl

Christian Nutt, Contributor

August 14, 2009

2 Min Read

Gamecock founder and CEO Mike Wilson has been discussing the demise of the Dementium: The Ward and Mushroom Men publisher, chronicling its "lightspeed" sale to competitor SouthPeak Interactive; and alleging that former Gamecock contractors have had trouble getting paid by the company's new owners. In an interview with consumer blog Joystiq which is part of a larger investigative piece, Wilson describes the circumstances which led up to the sale of Austin-based indie publisher Gamecock to Two Worlds publisher SouthPeak. Wilson says of the changes, which took place late last year: "[Our primary investor] lost an enormous amount of money in his main businesses and assets overall, and with no end in sight, had a bit of a panic... He and his board decided that with their main business bleeding so badly, they needed to cut off anything 'ancillary', such as his investment in outside businesses, one of which was our company." He added: "This all came about very quickly... An industry friend introduced us to Terry Phillips at SouthPeak, who we in turn introduced to our investor... A week later, we were bought, and all we could do was put on a happy face and hope for the best." Wilson also discusses SouthPeak's alleged refusal to pay a number of Gamecock's existing contractors, the discussion of which forms the bulk of Joystiq's report. According to the report and Wilson's claims, contractors who worked with Gamecock prior to the SouthPeak acquisition are being ignored or offered payment as low as 25% of the original agreed amount by SouthPeak representatives. This includes staff who worked in capacities such as composing music or writing and editing game text. Some are pursuing legal action against the company, according to Wilson and others quoted in the report. Wilson maintains that SouthPeak was fully informed of all liabilities in advance of the closure of the acquisition, and alleges that SouthPeak's non-payment of contractors contributed to last year's Cyan Worlds layoff, claiming that SouthPeak only paid contractors "if SP 'needed them' for something beyond work they had already completely, or if it was believed they would actually follow through with a lawsuit." Wilson also alleges that SouthPeak has blamed the situation on him in discussions with third parties, which he only recently became aware of. SouthPeak refused to comment for Joystiq's story, replying, "SouthPeak continues to diligently work through the outstanding details related to the acquisition of Gamecock Media Group. We cannot comment on any pending litigation other than those cited in our public filings." Wilson and Gamecock co-founder Harry Miller recently announced the formation of a new venture, Devolver Digital, which is producing a new version of Croteam's Serious Sam to be published by Majesco.

About the Author(s)

Christian Nutt


Christian Nutt is the former Blog Director of Gamasutra. Prior to joining the Gamasutra team in 2007, he contributed to numerous video game publications such as GamesRadar, Electronic Gaming Monthly, The Official Xbox Magazine, GameSpy and more.

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