Open-world spacefaring game Star Atlas is opening up its intellectual property (IP) for general commercial use in a move designed to create new revenue streams for the ambitious and long-delayed project.
The sweeping conditions change, announced in a community meeting at the weekend, will allow anyone to commercialise products that use Star Atlas assets. When revenue for the products rises above $1m, Star Atlas begins to earn royalties.
Star Atlas lawyer Dan Park said commercialised products could be almost anything, from general merchandise like t-shirts to movies and even computer games. Games required special permission from Star Atlas, but other products would be pre-approved.
“[This is] basically a whole new approach to letting the community to use Star Atlas intellectual property. This includes … art, gameplay videos, faction logos, characters, the lore and story.”
“Currently you can only use Star Atlas IP for non-commercial purposes … now you’ll be able to explore commercial horizons. We’ll see what people can do here.”
Make your own merch
Park said you don’t need to own a Star Atlas NFT to make use of the new conditions. The only requirements – except in the case of games – are to provide contact details, a project description, and to abide by certain branding rules.
An example of the latter is not using the words “Star Atlas” in the product title.
“Yes you can create merch … figurines, miniatures, board games … you could even launch some NFTs or cool art.”
“There will be some limitations on commercializing a video game experience. For that you will have to seek pre-approval and a custom license. But almost everything else will be fair game.”
Park said Star Atlas would make an online repository of assets available for public use, where everything already finalized for use in the game will be available for download.
Royalties would range, depending on the product created, up to 10% of gross revenue.
What is Star Atlas?
Star Atlas is being built in Unreal Engine 5, allowing the game to feature cinema-quality, real-time environments. The game takes place in a futuristic science fiction setting in 2620, where three major factions have emerged and are competing for resources and control.
The game uses the Solana blockchain to enable fast and low-cost transactions, as well as to create a decentralized economy and governance system. Players can own and trade digital assets, such as NFTs, that represent in-game items, land, and characters. The game also has its own native token, ATLAS, which is used for various purposes, such as paying fees, staking, and voting.
The approach of opening up game IP is reminiscent of Epic’s recent big move in providing the Unreal Engine for Fortnite, encouraging an explosion of player-created content and games.
Polemos game expert Cavan “Caveman” Roe said the IP change was possibly premature for Star Atlas.
“I think these [kinds of legal moves] will become more common. It is a way to further extend the life of the game and give more utility to the assets the studio spent time and money on. My only thought is that is may be too soon for Star Atlas’. Most of these games that did it successfully were already major hits. Star Atlas hasn’t even shipped a proper beta.”
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