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Playdead (Limbo, INSIDE) co-founder paid $7.2M to leave company after power struggle

Lime

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Apr 27, 2008
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People probably already know that Dino Patti, co-founder of Playdead, left the studio with the other co-founder Arnt Jensen staying back in July 2016. Yesterday in the Danish financial news paper Børsen it was revealed that there had been quite a messy divorce between the two with lawyers and having to buy out the co-founder. Here are the Cliff's Notes version (loosely translated)

  • The conflict started in 2015 when Patti felt that "the last couple of years it has been a bit silent at the office for my temper. You make a new game every fourth or sixth year, so not much is going on" (my translation)
  • The resolution to the conflict broke down over who owned the rights of the games
  • Since 2015 the two creators were not on speaking terms and only communicated through lawyers where each party tried to gain control of the company
  • On the 10th of November 2015 Arnt Jensen wrote that "after heavy consideration, I have to find other avenues to continue my creative activities through" (my translation)
  • This shocked Patti who then removed Jensen as the executive from Playdead's CVR registry, since to him it was clear that Jensen didn't want to work there any more
  • Jensen's lawyers disagreed with this and meant that he only resigned as creative director, not as the co-owner of the company.
  • After some time, the Danish Business Authority had to force Patti out due to continued disagreement between the two parties
  • Patti was paid 50 million DKK (~7.2 million USD) for 49 percent of the company
  • Arnt Jensen refuses to comment
  • Patti thinks that he wasn't compensated for what the company actually is worth and he would still at any time trade his 50 million DKK for a solution that made him co-director at the company.
  • When questioned, Patti feels like it is asking about a divorce from a girlfriend. It's very personal.

http://borsen.dk/nyheder/avisen/artikel/11/160805/artikel.html
 

HueyFreeman

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Jul 27, 2011
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Damn didn't realize any of this had happened. Sad to hear from such a great, and hugely promising, studio.
 
Jan 9, 2016
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Looks like both parties are at fault. How unprofessional. Divorces are always a waste of money. They should have resolved this differently.

This shocked Patti who then removed Jensen as the executive from Playdead's CVR registry, since to him it was clear that Jensen didn't want to work there any more
This is fucked up.
 

LewieP

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Jan 30, 2015
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Sounds messy, but I would at least probably agree that the studio and ip is worth more than that figure suggests.
 

HeatBoost

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Jan 1, 2016
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Is it weird that my only take away from this is that I'm glad the company that made Limbo and Inside has enough dough to throw around that they can buy out one of their founders with millions of dollars?
 

Slate Soda

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Jul 3, 2010
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Thread title's wording makes it seem like the founder himself paid millions to Playdead (instead of the other way around) so he could leave the company
 
Jan 9, 2016
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Is it weird that my only take away from this is that I'm glad the company that made Limbo and Inside has enough dough to throw around that they can buy out one of their founders?
Even if they were worth $80 they would still be able to 'buy out' one of the parties. But yeah, it's good to see them throwing this much cash around, I suppose.
 

Pie and Beans

Look for me on the local news, I'll be the guy arrested for trying to burn down a Nintendo exec's house.
Apr 23, 2010
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Imagine spending that 7.2 million to make like... another 2.5 fucking indie games or something... and everyone just decided to cool down rather than lose their goddam minds.
 

Lime

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Apr 27, 2008
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Thread title's wording makes it seem like founder paid millions so he could leave the company
"was paid" I meant, but have seen articles with that same wording, so I figured it was understandable. Thanks for the correction. Could mods change the thread title please? Thanks in advance.
 

Lime

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Apr 27, 2008
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Damm, hopw the quality doesn't suffer that much from this :(
It took them 5 years and extra funding to release INSIDE. And regardless of their project management and standards for release, you most likely won't see the same type of game with Patti out of the picture.
 

Noogy

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Jan 5, 2009
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7.2 million? Jesus. This has to be more money than they made from Limbo. Did they receive a lot of outside investment?
Oh I'm fairly certain Limbo made a LOT more than that. Wouldn't be suprised if iOS sales alone covered a large portion of it.
 

Sun Bather

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Dec 13, 2013
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7.2 million? Jesus. This has to be more money than they made from Limbo. Did they receive a lot of outside investment?
Tiny (like really tiny studio). Sold over 3 mil copies before it even went onto ios in 2013...Nah.
 

Maple-Tech

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Sep 6, 2015
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7.2 million? Jesus. This has to be more money than they made from Limbo. Did they receive a lot of outside investment?
According to wikipedia, they made $7.5 Million in 2010 alone, when it was only on 360. With all the other ports, they probably made a LOT more money.
 

messiaen

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May 10, 2015
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7.2 million? Jesus. This has to be more money than they made from Limbo. Did they receive a lot of outside investment?
To answer the second question, I believe both of their games were half funded by the Danish government through a creative grant.
 

Lime

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Apr 27, 2008
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To answer the second question, I believe both of their games were half funded by the Danish government through a creative grant.
Not sure about half-funded, but they did receive funding in both instances, yes. Not sure why they got the grants when they already were swimming in cash compared to other game developers competing for the same funding pool.
 

Alo81

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Jun 24, 2012
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This all seems terribly messy, and thats really unfortunate. 7.2 million is a lot of cash that could have been kept in house to fund a lot of creative work.

Bummer.
 

messiaen

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May 10, 2015
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Not sure about half-funded, but they did receive funding in both instances, yes. Not sure why they got the grants when they already were swimming in cash compared to other game developers competing for the same funding pool.
The ultimate goal of grants is to bring attention to the uniqueness of a city/country normally to other artists. I would think Playdead stood the highest chance of bringing more talent/attention to Denmark compared to other developers that applied, so netted more grant money.