There is also a dispute between the two companies over the royalties of the person who developed the game.
There has been a long-running legal dispute between Saber Interactive and Oovee Games. The company, which is part of the Embracer Group, is accusing the publisher of Spintires of defamation. Oovee has issued a press release through a law firm. It asks the court to reject Saber’s claims. Eurogamer reported that in return, Saber had filed a defamation claim…
The spokesman said that almost every line in Oovee’s press release contained falsehood or misrepresentation. It sucks for Spintires: although it was briefly on Steam in early 2022, it has since been absent from Valve’s digital store again. And when you consider that the Saber-Oovee wrangling has been going on since 2014, when Spintires was released, you can’t help but scratch your head…
Spintires was developed by Pavel Zagrebelnyy while working as a coder at Saber. He then signed a contract with Oovee to publish his project. The UK-based publisher (who has since published nothing else…) was successful: Spintires sold millions of copies, making a profit. But which company owns the rights to Spintires? How much money does Zagrebelnyy deserve? Saber told Eurogamer that he received less than half of the money it was entitled to! In 2016, there was an agreement that Oovee would own the rights to Spintires, while Saber was granted a licence for “improvements and enhancements.”
Saber thus put the console versions together, and two sequels, Mudrunner and Snowrunner, were made, courtesy of Zagrebelnyy. These have also sold in the millions. Oovee told Eurogamer that these two games fall into “improvements and enhancements”, saying that they are entitled to 25% of the royalties. There is also a dispute over theme music, trademarks for the game and various spin-offs and even individual tractor designs. Devin Milsom, CEO of Oovee, said that they had spent millions to remove Spintires from Steam and had lost millions on top of that.
A representative for Saber said that while they refrain from commenting on the details of the ongoing dispute, the Oovee press release is seen as an attempt to force a settlement by using public opinion… so it could be seen as a pretty dirty move by the ‘one-hit’ publisher.