Over the last month and change, we’ve been covering the news that GameNet, Black Desert’s Russian publisher, was handing the service in the CIS region back over to BDO’s owner, Pearl Abyss, apparently because Pearl Abyss chose not to renew GameNet’s license. At the time, both companies vowed to work together to transfer account data and keep the servers going at their new destination.
But as we noted on Thursday, information for Russian players remained thin, with only a few vague messages on VK (Russian Facebook) and a splash page. GameNet closed the servers down this week as planned with a disturbing note about how all responsibility for the future of the game was on Pearl Abyss, whose own messages referred to ongoing negotiations, implied it couldn’t legally discuss the matter until the rights transfer, and then ominously said it was making “every possible effort to solve the problems” – without explaining what the “problems” were.
That had Russian players speculating that their accounts were about to be lost to the void, which unfortunately turns out to be the case. Pearl Abyss’ most recent letter to Russian players says that it failed to acquire their game data from GameNet, meaning everything they’ve done on their characters is gone.
“Since September 12, 2018, our company has been in continuous negotiations with GameNet (Vebanaul Holdings Ltd) in order to fully transfer the rights to the Black Desert Online Russia service. However, since until October 12, 2018, all rights to the Black Desert Russia game service belonged to GameNet, due to the terms of the agreement between Pearl Abyss and GameNet we could not provide our players with more detailed information. […] By the end of the contract with Gamenet, for several months we worked to minimize changes in the game and provide the game with the best content. However, the latest update in Black Desert Russia was in August, after which access to the server was closed for us. Despite our efforts to continue negotiations, we could not reach a compromise. We tried to obtain ownership of the operation of the Black Desert Russia game and transfer all game data legally, but these attempts were unsuccessful. In this regard, we are forced to tell you the sad news about the impossibility of transferring game data. […] Since the negotiations failed, and we could not get a database, transfer files, purchase history, etc. – the transfer of information became impossible, and our company was forced to make changes to the plans for servicing Russian users. Unfortunately, we have no other options than to start working without this data.”
Indeed, not only will Russian players be losing their accounts and characters, but Pearl Abyss isn’t going to have the Russian servers up immediately, as it also lost access to GameNet’s localization and will have to localize the game all over again.
“More than 660,000 sentences will be translated, including existing content, as well as the Drigan update and new stories,” PA admits. “At the moment we cannot say exactly how long the localization process will take, but we promise that every Wednesday we will notify our players about current events and progress.”
You’re probably never going to see your money invested in the game again either.
“Also, in all matters relating to the services provided by GameNet, refunds and paid goods used earlier in GameNet, please contact Vebanaul Holdings Ltd.”
It is not entirely clear how and why the negotiations with GameNet failed, but we bet you have a few guesses. Our sympathies go out to all of the players affected by this disaster.