Earlier this week, Sarien.net, a web site that let gamers play old Sierra adventure games in any web browser, including the iPhone and iPad's Safari, was hit with a Cease and Desist order by Activision. The man behind the site, Martin Kool, didn't really mind. In fact he called it "a relief," as he was getting increasingly uncomfortable with the site's growing profile and knew it was just a matter of time. But then the same lawyers that asked him to take down the site sent him an interesting proposal:
Activision proposed to officially authorize Sarien.net to publish the first game of any series in its multiplayer HTML5 form. As it may generate interest in also playing the games' successors, Sarien.net will provide a link to Steam and other services that offer the full game collections. To me that sounds beyond "fair enough", and very reasonable. Also, as Activision may (or may not) choose to provide official releases of these games through the AppStore, they requested that all iPad versions of the games be removed.
So now Sarien.net is coming back with the approval of Activision, albeit in a slightly more limited form. The one question mark is Leisure Suit Larry, which is now owned by Codemasters. Kool has reached out to them to offer them the same deal, and is waiting to hear whether they'll agree or have any additional terms. The site isn't back just yet, but should be soon.
The link below has not only the whole story of what happened this week, but a bit of the history of the site. It's a pretty interesting read, and not just because Activision actually comes across slightly less evil than usual.
Sarien.net - The Full Story [MartinKool.com]