Why isn’t licensing for brands, music, etc. permanently acquired for use in video games that include them? Who benefits from no one being able to sell the game legally in 10-20 years time (as opposed to the games we can still buy after decades)?

Licensors want to maintain control of their intellectual property. Most of the time, they grant a reasonable temporary use of the license because they want to re-evaluate how things are going from time to time and decide whether to renew the license or not. For old games from 10-20 years ago, the brand owner may not want their brand associated with that game anymore. Most owners are very protective of their intellectual property because it holds value and it's what pays their bills. Beyond that, the vast majority of game sales happen within the duration of the first license, so it really isn't worth it to either the publisher or the licensor to think about the handful of player collectors who are looking to buy a decade-old licensed game. If there are enough people who want to buy those old games, the publisher will usually reach out to the licensor to see if a remake/remaster is reasonable. If an agreement can be reached, the remaster goes forward.

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