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Limited Run Games, Inc., also known simply as Limited Run, is an American video game distributor based in Apex, North Carolina. The company produces and sells limited quantities of physical video game copies via its website and select retail stores. Josh Fairhurst and Douglas Bogart founded the company in October 2015 after Fairhurst wanted to preserve the digitally released games developed by his studio, Mighty Rabbit Studios, on physical media. Following major expansion between 2018 and 2022, including branching out into publishing and retrogaming, the company was acquired by Embracer Group through its Embracer Freemode operative group in September 2022.

History[]

Limited Run Games was launched in October 2015 by chief executive officer (CEO) Josh Fairhurst and chief operating officer Douglas Bogart. Bogart was eventually hired by Fairhurst's video game development studio, Mighty Rabbit Studios, as a tester. As the studio's games were only released digitally, Fairhurst believed that they would become inaccessible once digital storefronts shut down. He conceived Limited Run Games with the intent of preserving his studio's games by releasing them on physical media. At the same time, Mighty Rabbit Studios had run out of contract work and was close to shutting down. Fairhurst hoped that opening Limited Run Games would alleviate the company's struggles. After taking an US$85,000 credit, Fairhurst worked on establishing Limited Run Games for eight months, contacting twelve different parties to make the necessary arrangements. Sony, the producer of the PlayStation line of consoles, agreed to lower the minimum order quantity for the prospective first release, Breach & Clear for the PlayStation Vita, to 1,500, which was more financially feasible. He then brought in Bogart to market such a release and build up anticipation.

Fairhurst and Bogart established Limited Run Games as a division of Mighty Rabbit Studios, then based in Cary, North Carolina. The company released Breach & Clear alongside the launch of its website on October 29, 2015. Limited Run Games sought to test the market response with this release, and it sold out in 108 minutes. Distribution was handled from Mighty Rabbit Studios' offices, with some of the studio's staffers helping to prepare shipments. Forgoing retail outlets allowed Limited Run to avoid applying for expensive content ratings from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).

The first third-party game released by Limited Run Games was Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty! Oddworld Inhabitants, the game's publisher, had reached out to the company for the release, which drove it to release more games from external partners. Limited Run settled on producing these games fully at its own cost and then retaining 30% of the gross income, with Bogart noting a lower cut would be unsustainable. With the release of Futuridium EP Deluxe in 2016, Limited Run Games switched to using a distribution center to handle shipments. The company launched 46 games in 2016. Originally, Limited Run Games produced only a fixed number of copies, which it later replaced with a pre-order period to manufacture according to demand. The company also began producing collector's editions. As Mighty Rabbit Studios returned to contract work, the two companies were formally separated. By October 2017, Limited Run Games had relocated from Cary to nearby Apex.

In September 2017, the ESRB introduced a lowered fee for rating games that are brought from digital to physical formats. In response, the major console manufacturers introduced requirements that all games released for their platforms must carry a rating. This change forced Limited Run Games and similar companies to apply, pay, and wait for ESRB ratings for each game released. While it did not have to cancel any release, the company noted that the new requirement represented a hurdle, as it was covering the entire production cost of each game. In October 2018, Limited Run Games partnered with the electronics market chain Best Buy to have limited quantities of select games.

At its first press conference, held during E3 2018, Limited Run Games announced it had begun helping other developers port and digitally release their games for the Nintendo Switch. In 2019, Limited Run Games partnered with Disney to release several older Star Wars video games. This marked the company's first major foray into releasing retro games, having previously focused principally on more recent games. Limited Run Games saw a significant increase in demand between 2020 and 2021, the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the generally higher demand for various products during that time caused an impasse for deliveries from China, which in turn impacted Limited Run Games' manufacturing capabilities. By September 2020, the company released more than 500 games. It grew its staff count to over 50 people by October 2021, up from 20 in March 2020.

In April 2022, Limited Run Games opened a retail store at MacGregor Village, a shopping mall in Cary. The store primarily stocks the company's releases, with 25% of its capacity reserved for other media and merchandise. The store is operated through Limited Run Games' wholly owned subsidiary Limited Run Retail, LLC. In July, the company announced the formation of SuperDeluxe Games, a joint venture with the Japanese localization company 8-4 that distributes Limited Run Games' releases in Japan. Limited Run Games owns 40% of SuperDeluxe Games. In August 2022, Embracer Group announced that it had agreed to acquire Limited Run Games from Fairhurst and Bogart to undisclosed terms. The acquisition was completed on September 6, and Limited Run Games was incorporated into Embracer Group's newest operative group, Embracer Freemode, with Fairhurst and Bogart retaining their management roles. According to marketing director, Alena Alambeigi, the acquisition gave Limited Run Games access to the many intellectual properties owned by Embracer Group. Later in September, Limited Run Games announced the launch of the book imprint Press Run, led by Jeremy Parish and Jared Petty, former editors for the video game websites USgamer and IGN, respectively.

Controversies[]

In October 2018, Limited Run Games filed a lawsuit against the Spanish publisher BadLand Games. The two companies had partnered in 2017 to release a physical version of Axiom Verge for the Wii U. According to Fairhurst, his company had prepaid $78,000 for BadLand Games to deliver 6,000 copies by November. However, the company missed this target and ceased communications by March 2018. Two weeks after the lawsuit was filed, BadLand Games' CEO, Luis Quintans, explained his company had been liquidated and he now operated a new company, BadLand Publishing. While he planned to repay all outstanding debt, the publishing rights for Axiom Verge had reverted to its developer, Thomas Happ. Limited Run Games ultimately worked with Happ to release Axiom Verge in March 2019. As Limited Run Games had to pay for all copies anew, it invested a total of $120,000, although Fairhurst believed that the company would recoup no more than a third of that from sales.

On January 9, 2023, X user Purple Tinker (@prpltnkr) initiated a boycott against Limited Run Games due to their employment of Community Manager Kara Lynne, accusing her of transphobia based on her follow list and an old tweet.[1] Limited Run Games quickly responded by firing Lynne, although this was met with significant backlash from the gaming community.[2] The company tweeted that Lynne was terminated after an investigation in the interest of fostering positivity and safety. On her part, Lynne expressed she could tell they were being pressured from elsewhere and didn't want to do it, and was told there were no other options presented.[3] Following the hasty firing and many requests for refunds in protest (many which were not honored), LRG disabled commenting across all of its social media forums.

Contra products released[]

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Video games[]

Merchandise[]

References[]

  1. @prpltnkr at X (January 6, 2023).
  2. "Hogwarts Legacy game faces boycott in JK Rowling trans row", The Times, January 29, 2023. (subscription required)
  3. "Video-Game Company Caves to Trans Activist’s Online Pressure Campaign, Fires Targeted Employee", The National Review, Caroline Downey, January 24, 2023.

External links[]

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Limited Run Games. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the Contra Wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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