While No Man’s Sky has been delayed from release this week to a couple of months from now, we did get some good news in that the game will be able to keep its title. The interesting thing about this bit of news is there are few people who knew No Man’s Sky title was in doubt. The title’s developer, Hello Games, revealed that the company had been in a fight for the last several years, desperately trying to hold onto the game’s name.
Hello’s CEO Sean Murray tweeted out that his firm had been engaged in what he called “secret stupid legal nonsense.” It turns out the British television network known simply as Sky owns the copyright for that name. Apparently, the network believes that means no one can use the word in any kind of title, even it’s preceded with other words such as “No Man’s.” While we may never know just what happened with the settlement, we do know this is yet another twist in what has been a rather odd saga for the game.
Ever since the title was announced a few years ago, there has been nothing but excitement surrounding it. That excitement was supposed to culminate in a June release, but the company had to delay the release until August. Because the firm has never said why the delay occurred, there have been a number of guesses as to why No Man’s Sky was knocked back a couple of months. It seems unlikely the naming rights fight would have been one of the reasons, but anything is possible in what has become the truly strange world of video games.
BBC News reports Murray is now a little more educated about just how crazy that world can be. After announcing the agreement has been reached, the CEO of the firm said he now knows “more about trademark law than any sane man would ever want to.”
This isn’t the first legal fight Sky has gotten into over the use of its name. Back in 2013, Microsoft and the British broadcasting company went tete a tete with Microsoft eventually having to change the name of its cloud storage application from SkyDrive to OneDrive. Just a year after that happened, American tech company LiveScribe pulled its product out of UK stores because that product was claimed to have a patent infringement in its title.
As SlashGear pointed out, Murray seemed to understand the naming fight wasn’t something that could just be laughed off. He pointed to the Microsoft issue as proof his company’s own legal fight was plenty serious. These comments are likely only going to fuel speculation the delay of this project was because of the patent fight. It’s rather obvious that the British broadcaster has had no problem going to war in order to keep hold of its patents for the Sky name.
Because Hello is a relatively unknown company, it’s possible the UK company believed it had a pushover on its hands. The interesting aspect of this story is even Microsoft ended off backing down and changing the name of the product. That either means Hello Games was able to fight harder or paid a great deal of money, on a level Microsoft wasn’t willing to part with. It’s likely we’ll never know what the two companies agreed to as part of the settlement. It’s likely Murray isn’t going to be spilling the beans and the UK company isn’t going to want to look like the bad guy talking about it. The good news is No Man’s Sky is now free and clear to his the PS4 and PC this August.
[Image via Hello Games]