Over the month, we’ve been covering the supposed license transfer of Black Desert’s Russian branch from publisher GameNet back to Korean owner Pearl Abyss. Initially, both companies vowed to work together to transfer account data and keep the servers going at their new destination, but last week, a worrisome lack of communication and a note from Pearl Abyss about ongoing negotiations and “problems” made Russian players suspect their accounts were toast.
As we reported Saturday morning, that turned out to be the case, as Pearl Abyss told Russian players that it had failed to acquire their game data from GameNet, meaning everything they’ve done on their characters and every penny they’ve ever spent is gone. Moreover, PA said it couldn’t acquire GameNet’s localization either and will have to re-localize the entire game.
What we didn’t know initially is what exactly happened between the companies along the way. Essentially, it comes down to money, and boy does Pearl Abyss have some unkind words for GameNet parent company Vebanaul. Pearl Abyss says it had been “denied access to the servers since August,” which is why Russian players already weren’t getting updates. It also sounds like Pearl Abyss believes Vebanaul was negligent in not setting up a system allowing Russian players to grant their consent to transfer their data in accordance with Russian law. Finally, Pearl Abyss intimates that Vebanaul was trying to fleece PA with an “excessively high price” for the database.
“Regardless of the conditions specified in our contract, Vebanaul use our users as their weapon. Vebanaul claims that we have declared the uselessness of the translations developed by them. However, due to the negotiations, we had no choice but to start preparing our own game localization, because we had a premonition that there was a possibility that we would not be able to transfer the Black Desert Online Russia service from Vebanaul. […] Blocking access to the server since August, after the opening of our website, Vebanaul began to protest and demanded that we stop all actions aimed at supporting the game Black Desert Online Russia. Although we have all the rights to transfer the service, we listened to all the requirements of Vebanaul and tried to minimize all our actions.”
Pearl Abyss ends by saying it hopes to “avoid a situation in which Vebanaul will simply delete the database without any consent,” but it sounds as if the studio is proceeding under the assumption that it’s already lost anyway.