Tinybuild Games CEO, Alex Nichiporchik has come forward with some damning accusations against Russian game publisher, Buka Entertainment. Accusations which he claims have lead Buka to threaten legal actions against the indie label.
On June 19th, 2017, Nichiporchik published an article to tinyBuild’s website where he carefully outlines his version of the events. He claims that after he and developer Tom Brien had teamed up to crowdfund their project, No Time To Explain, a representative of Buka contacted them through email. After some negotiations the two agreed that Buka Entertainment would provide an advance on royalties and access to the Steam platform. In exchange they received Russian publishing rights for the game. Everything seemed to be in place until Buka abruptly pulled out of the agreement.
According to Nichiporchik, after 3 months of silence he received an email from a Buka representative. The email said that due to lackluster sales numbers Buka was moving away from publishing smaller indie games.
Losing nearly half of their budget could have easily destroyed tinyBuild before the studio had even started. Fortunately, Alex and Tom were able to complete their game in Flash before spending 2 years struggling to bring it to Steam. Their determination kept the game alive and built a solid foundation for the studio, which has grown exponentially over the years.
For his part, Nichiporchik has always been open regarding tinyBuild’s experience with the publisher. He’s given presentations and written blogs about the team’s early struggles. None of which have drawn any interest from Buka in all this time. At least, until recently.
Back In The Spotlight
While attending an annual conference (DevGAMM) in Moscow, Nichiporchik once again reached out to Buka Entertainment. Suddenly, the publisher has became very defensive about how Nichiporchik has been portraying them over the years, calling his actions “unworthy PR based on lies.”
Conversely, Nichiporchik has implied that Buka is only addressing the complaints now that tinyBuild has established itself in the industry. “Curiously, they’ve ignored any previous attempts of contact until we became big enough to get noticed.”
The interactions have all been documented (and translated) by Nichiporchik on tinyBuild’s website. Buka is insisting that tinyBuild turn over their copy of the contract or face a slander lawsuit over the accusations. Meanwhile, tinyBuild is calling for an industry-wide ban on Buka Entertainment’s conference attendance unless the publisher honors their original contract (including 8% annual interest) to the tune of $38,878.
“If they can’t sell themselves at industry events, they won’t be able to scam devs and ruin lives,” Nichiporchik wrote.
Nichiporchik is no stranger to calling out controversy. Last year he accused Steam key marketplace, G2A of costing his company $450,000 due to fraudulent key sales. This lead to a public confrontation between Nichiporchik and G2A’s Outbound Sales Specialist, Marius Mirek’s during a GDC panel.
So far, Buka Entertainment has not publicly responded to the accusations against them.