At the start of this week something happened. Indeed. I could not find a more vague way of describing what I am going to muse about here. But trust me, it will all make sense a bit later. Just bear with me. We could say, that because I am writing this on Friday, we can examine the whole happening from a more, academic perspective if you will. Everything already took place. Only thing for us is to examine the whole thing and ponder how it could, or how it should be handled.
You see, about a month ago Cynical Brit reviewed, for the lack of better term that could describe his WTF is? series, a game called The Day One Garry's Incident. It is a series of videos about first impressions. All was well and fine. He critiqued the game, stated his honest opinion. Which he always does. You can agree or disagree with him, it is his opinion after all. And he did not like the game. The game took some heavy beating, but it deserved it.
Here is where things go wrong all of a sudden. Instead of the developers taking the critique as it should be taken, as an advice for future, their feelings got hurt. And so, in that matter they claimed a copyright infringement on Cynical Brit's critique of the game. Now to be honest, I cannot explain this as well as Cynical Brit does in the video, but on youtube, you have three strikes. After three strikes you are out.
Three strikes and copyright infringement claim are meant to reign in dishonest and unfair profiteering out of the work of someone else. For example, uploading a whole film will get you in trouble, if the film is not yours.
Now to what this boils down, is that Wild Games Studios tried to censure one particular video. It is quite interesting they did not go after some of the people who do let's plays, but instead opted to start with the one video that had the most views. Let's plays are after all the grey area where their claim could arguably have some weight.
As of the time of this writing, the old review of the game by Cynical Brit is back up and available. The Cynical Brit's response video on the whole matter gathered more than two million views in just couple of days.
It is to say, that Wild Games Studios took down their claim against the video, and some would say a job well done. They learnt something. The truth is, they did not learn anything. They took it down because of the backlash of the community. And this is good, if anything their sense of self-preservation is still working, even though it is a bit late for the whole show.
The whole thing should have never happened in the first place. Maybe it is because I can stand at the distance and observe this chaos, but Wild Games Studios made a mistake here. Had they just gone to corner sulking, it would be fine. It would be better. Their sales would not be great, but that would be a lesson learnt and hopefully applied to their future games. Games that would work as intended because they would understand, that in order to ship a game, the game must be finished first. Polished, even if the latter is more of an exception than a general rule these days.
I believe if they did that, and sent Cynical Brit a review code, as they did with The Day One Garry's Incident, he would start his video with a word of two of their previous games. He would mention The Day One Garry's Incident, and what the shortcomings of it were. Then, he would move to the game at hand. And knowing Cynical Brit, if he saw improvement, he would commend them on improving. He would praise them. If the game was in same sorry state as The Day One Garry's Incident, he would criticise it without remorse. As he does any unfinished or broken game.
The developers in this case, tried to lie, deceive, silence, and then after all the underhanded manners failed, appease the crowd. Yet, as it is, they will feel the backlash of their actions ever more as time goes by.
It is a good thing that they focused their fire on Cynical Brit. Had it been some small site or reviewer, it could go by unnoticed, but because someone big was focused, the outcry of community could be heard against such moves. In the long term, this incident helped Cynical Brit. But it also helped the gamers in general, as they took stand against such actions of the developers. Showing they are ready to punish the transgressor with their wallet. Guess what game will not be making any lists any time soon. Well, any lists but of the worst game of 2013.