Buck Off – Silicon Knights’ Court Case Now Worth $1

Another day, another court case. *sigh*

Today we have Silicon Knights suing Epic games. This case boils down to Silicon Knights claiming that Epic didn’t give them the support they needed and that the engine they were sold din’t do what it was supposed to do.

This case has been going on for near 5 years now. This time has taken its toll and the patience of the judge who has know decreed that Silicon Knights, if they win, are only due to receive ‘nominal damages’.

That means $1.

How did it get to this?

As previously mentioned, this whole case revolves around the fact that Silicon Knights licensed the Unreal Engine off of Epic. Silicon Knights thought they were getting an engine that was ‘ready to go’ and that would allow them to get into full development of their game. In fact, the law suit claimed;

“Epic violated the Agreement with Silicon Knights by, among other things, failing to provide a working game engine, which has caused Silicon Knights to experience considerable losses and ultimately has forced Silicon Knights to spend its limited time and resources on building its own game engine rather than in developing its video game.”

Naturally Silicon Knights didn’t want compensation for having their time wasted and receiving an engine which wasn’t ‘fully functional’. No, they wanted that AND compensation, totalling $58 million, for;

  1. lost royalties due to decrease sales ($6.2 mil)
  2. lost publisher bonus ($750k)
  3. lost ancillary royalties ($810k)
  4. lost profits from sequels ($16+ mil for Too Human II, $14+ mil for Too Human III) and another Sega title, The Ritualyst ($8+ mil)
  5. cost to develop a new engine ($2.3 mil)
  6. economic harm to Silicon Knights’ reputation ($8.9 mil)

If you’re thinking that maybe they’re over-reaching with this claim, you’d be right. It didn’t help that Silicon Knight’s expert, who came up with these figures, was soon dismissed from giving his testimony. Epic even went as far to say as these numbers were nothing more than ‘made up’.

With the case started in 2007 and evidence thrown out late last year, it would appear the judge is kind of sick of it all. The court is saying that Silicon Knights have taken too long to come up with a figure that is acceptable and, you know, based on fact.

This lead to the ruling of only nominal damages being sought, meaning Silicon Knights will only get $1 if they do win.

Whilst I don’t have a great deal of sympathy for Silicon Knights, I do find this a little harsh. The company are hardly doing great.

What really gets me is the fact this wasn’t done in the UK. I had a brilliant ‘Knights of the £ Table’ pun all lined up.

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