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THQ Settles  Tetris  Rights Dispute
THQ Settles Tetris Rights Dispute
June 9, 2006 | By David Jenkins

Representatives from publisher THQ and Tetris rights holder The Tetris Company have settled a legal dispute regarding the use of the Tetris license, after a near-completed Tetris DS THQ title was shelved in favor of a Nintendo first-party version.

A regular licensor of the Tetris name, THQ was previously prevented from releasing a Nintendo DS version of the game by The Tetris Company and began a lawsuit against it, alleging breach of contract. However, examinations of the company’s recent financial results reveal that the issue has now been settled and THQ will publish a version of Tetris: The Grand Master Ace for the Xbox 360 in the West – originally published by AQ Interactive in Japan.

THQ’s original licensing agreement with The Tetris Company ran till 2007, but it is unclear whether this is still the case or if the new arrangement will be only for Tetris: The Grand Master Ace. Certainly, it seems unlikely that THQ will be able to publish a Nintendo DS Tetris game in the near future, given that in the interim Nintendo itself has published a highly successful version of the game on the format.

The whole affair is eerily reminiscent of the now legendary legal and political wrangling that accompanied the licensing of Tetris for the Game Boy and other 8-bit consoles, as chronicled in David Sheff’s highly praised book Game Over. In that instance, Nintendo gained the portable and console rights to the game from the Atari owned Tengen, while also outmaneuvering Robert Maxwell’s Mirrorsoft publishing arm.

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