MetaGravity Studio is a crypto company that created the Retro Arcade Collection. Launched only last week, this collection essentially consisted of retro games that had been turned into playable NFTs in order to preserve “abandonware games” on the blockchain. As pointed out by Waypoint, these “playable” NFTs included games like Blizzard’s Blackthorne and Remedy’s Death Rally.
However, like most people dabbling in NFTs, the people at MetaGravity Studio didn’t quite understand how IP rights and licenses work, resulting in a number of NFTs being created and put up for auction without the authorization of the relevant entities. As you’d expect, some of the NFTs were reported, leading to the entire collection being deleted.
“The license seems to check out for the purpose but didn’t want to get dragged into any debates as that’s not in the spirit of the collection,” said MetaGravity Studio founder and CEO, Rashin Mansoor in a statement to Waypoint. “As such, we’ve removed all the games and changed the NFTs now to mint passes for our upcoming NFT-native retro game.”
Unsurprisingly, any of the already claimed NFTs that have now been deleted no longer work as intended. Waypoint’s Patrick Klepek decided to try them out before they got deleted, saying, ” It was janky—getting the browser to recognize my keyboard was a pain—but it worked. Before they were taken down, I played demos of Death Rally, Blackthorne, and even the 90s arcade shooter Total Carnage in my browser.”
What’s questionable in all of this was if MetaGravity Studio was really authorized by the relevant parties to create and sell these NFTs in the form that they were in. The studio branded the games as “abandonware”, but wasn’t clear about what classifies a game to be categorized as such.
“It has been quite tricky to validate the status of a lot of abandonware but we’ve gone to lengths to try and ensure we’re using freely distributable versions of games,” Mansoor initially said to Waypoint. “We’d have liked to preserve abandonware more broadly similar to what a lot of abandonware sites are doing, but wanted to err on the side of caution on this. We also added a DMCA form on our site so copyright holders can request take downs if any of these are not okay to host.”
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