Sega's 'Alpha Protocol' music rights expire, removed from Steam

What you need to know

  • Alpha Protocol is an espionage role-playing game from Microsoft's Obsidian Entertainment.
  • The game was removed from Steam today because Sega's publishing rights expired.
  • It's unclear if it's going to return to the platform.
  • Rights may have reverted back to Obsidian, thus Microsoft.

Updated June 20, 2019: Sega is now claiming that only its music rights expired so that's why the game was removed from Steam.

Ever since Microsoft acquired Obsidian Entertainment, gamers have been curious about what the status of other titles the acclaimed developer has worked on is. Out of all of these, Alpha Protocol gets asked about the most. The game launched in 2010 and is an espionage-focused role-playing game. You could customize your spy however you wanted and embarked on dangerous missions like James Bond.

This morning, news broke that publisher Sega had removed the title from Steam. A few hours later, a spokesperson for the company told Game Watcher the following.

Following the expiry of Sega publishing rights for Alpha Protocol, the title has been removed from Steam and is no longer on sale.

Many thought that Sega owned the rights to the franchise, but there have been a lot of mixed messages from the publisher in recent years. Hopefully, now that the rights have expired, it means that Obsidian is in control of the franchise. Considering that Microsoft owns Obsidian, they should be in control of Alpha Protocol. We've reached out to Microsoft for comment and shall update you as soon as we receive a response.

The title was quite popular in 2010 and a sequel is in hot demand. With Microsoft's backing, Obsidian may be able to iron out the technical side which plagued the first game. Do you want an Alpha Protocol 2? Let us know.

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Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

5 Comments
  • I enjoyed this game.
  • Best case scenario: If the rights did revert back to Obsidian and Microsoft now owns the rights, hopefully we can get a re-master like Capcom did with Resident Evil 2 announced at E3 2020 playable that year. They could also announce that Alpha Protocol 2 is in the works for 2022.
  • If Obsidian/Microsoft now own the rights again, it would be nice to see them work with Sega to reintroduce the game back on Steam.
  • Why is there so much confusion about who owns the IP? It seemed pretty clear around launch that Sega owned the IP. Why would they suddenly just lose that 9 years later? And what does it mean that their "publishing rights have expired"? That for that specific title they cannot sell it anymore but that Obsidian now can? Why would Sega have ever put such a weird clause in their original contract with Obsidian? I don't get it.
  • As expected, Sega just confirmed they still own the IP. They only pulled it because of expired music licensing. I'm not sure why everyone jumped the gun and suddenly assumed that the developer would magically inherit the IP nine years later--I've never heard of such a thing, and that definitely isn't the case here.