While flogging dead horses is a uniformly frowned-upon pastime, the rules are less clear when it comes to suing dead publishers. Sega have taken advantage of this peculiar social loophole to slap the bankrupt THQ with a £630,000 lawsuit over the money earned during Company of Heroes 2’s Steam pre-order campaign.
If you recall, THQ ran a canny Steam pre-purchase promotion before Christmas. Buy Company of Heroes 2 early, it suggested, and help unlock a series of tiered release bonuses through weight of numbers. Once THQ rolled over in January, however, Sega acquired Relic and the series for $26.6m and launched their own, separate pre-order campaign.
20,755 copies of Company of Heroes 2 were pre-purchased on Steam between September 2012 and January 24 this year, to the tune of $1,345,301.29. Minus Valve’s usual 30% cut, that leaves the $941,710.93 (£632,572.66) total Sega have filed for.
Sega have submitted the claim to the Delaware US Bankrupty Court ahead of the “anticipated rejection” of THQ and Valve’s contract as a result of ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. They note that more than half of the £630k THQ received was paid after December 19, when the publisher filed for bankruptcy protection.
Sega are now part of a large club of potential THQ creditors, who together claim they’re owed more than $200m from the defunct publisher.