Saturday May 13, 2017

Music License Expiration Ends Alan Wake Digital Sales

If you have ever been curious about the horror action-adventure title Alan Wake, this weekend may be your last opportunity to purchase a digital copy. Remedy Entertainment, the studio behind the game, announced via Twitter news of the expiring music licenses. Artists such as Harry Nilsson, David Bowie, and Roy Orbison are featured throughout different sections of the game, prompting the complicated scenario.

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As with all games, Alan Wake contains music, and music comes with a license attached. When the license expires any work associated with it, in this case a game, can no longer be sold.

This 2010 title was ported to PC in 2012, and is currently available this weekend for a deeply discounted price on Steam and GOG for $2.99 USD. The sale will end at 10 AM PST, which will coincide with game removal on these and other digital distributors. While further sales will be halted, customers who have already purchased the game will not be affected in data acquisition. A renegotiation of licensing terms or possible removal of tracks could see a return of sales for the game, but altering a 7-year old title may not be the highest priority for Remedy Entertainment. While digital sales have been a fantastic addition to the gaming landscape, this example shows a pitfall in the distribution method.