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Epic Bans Fans Who Spoiled GOW 3

EpicGOWBan.jpg

Well this is a fine way to start the week. Game Politics has a story wherein Epic Games is upset that videos of a pre-release version of Gears of War 3 got leaked and started spreading all over the net like chicken pox in a third grade classroom. In fact, they're so upset that they're keeping track of people who are proliferating the videos and plan to ban them from the game when it is released on September 20th.

When speaking to Edge and Eurogamer in interviews, executive producer Rod Fergusson said:

Edge:
"We're extremely diligent about getting that stuff taken down and issued a call to fans to not perpetuate it... and just keeping track of those who do. I don't think everybody's aware of the potential repercussions of those types of actions."

Eurogamer:
"We have a banning system built into our stuff so we can go in and identify certain people," he said. "Some people aren't smart about what they do. They'll be disappointed on 20th September when they can't get in and can't play. They may be banned."

So lemme make sure I've got the facts straight, Epic.
1. Someone within your own studio broke the NDA and leaked a copy of your game to the net
2. Once the game started making the rounds, people began posting videos of the game online
3. These videos got picked up by various other outlets and were reposted all over the net
4. Your response was to ask them to take any and all information down
5. When they didn't, your next course of action is to start tracking these people and ban them from the game when it releases

What?

Epic, I think you need to take a step back and realize who's at fault here: you. You erred in judgment and hired someone who could not be trusted to keep the game a secret, and beyond that you hired someone who would not only leak info about the game, but an actual full version of it. What's more, you didn't put any kind of measures in place to ensure that the work-in-progress version would only work on the dev kits you own and use. The responsibility for all of this happening in the first place rests on your shoulders; you're no newbies to the gaming industry, not some small indie studio who isn't prepared for these kinds of things to take place. You should know better.

As for the people who spread the game, videos, and info, I'll confess I'm not sure where they stand legally. The version of the game was a work-in-progress, so it's not like it was a version that would be sold. It's also unlikely to hurt sales as, again, it's a work-in-progress version and anyone with half a brain knows that games still have a lot of bugs and are not fully representative of the final product even a month before release. The fans who spread informations and videos were not under a non-disclosure agreement, so they can't be held responsible for breaking it. Lastly, as far as I know, no one was charging for information or videos, so no one was making a profit off of your work. That said, these fan sites acquired and disseminated a product that was not theirs to have, so that complicates things.

There's one thing that I think y'all are overlooking, though: these people are your fans! They spread videos and information because they're excited for your game, and when presented with any new bit of info they're eager to share it with the world and spread the enthusiasm. These were acts of adoration, not malice, and your response is to ban these fans from your game? And your rationale can be effectively reduced to, "Well, they spoiled the game"? How petty.

Epic Games, grow a pair and accept responsibility. Should fan sites have acquired a leaked copy of the game and released information and videos without your consent? Of course not, but they did anyways. This leak was your fault and to lash out at your fan base for the fallout of a situation that you allowed to happen is, quite frankly, a dick move. Here's some free advice for you should something like this happen again: learn to spin. When someone releases an unfinished version of your game to the net, own it, apologize for the leak, and then say, "That's just the buggy unfinished version. Wait til you see the real thing!" And now your fans are hungry for more on completely free publicity. You're welcome.

11 Comments

Jack said:

EpicGames sold out a long time ago. This only strengthens my disrespect for them.

Gamescook said:

Epic's games aren't really "artistic" in the most traditional sense. Why would they be so arrogant as to think their tired old glory tale of "the manly men (and one babe) save the day forever while the pansies sucked their thumbs" was completely ruined by people spoiling it? Please.

JTSpender said:

This definitely seems like a "bite the hand that feeds you" tactic.

I'm reminded of the rather classy way Harmonix handled it when they accidentally revealed the RB3 setlist ahead of schedule. Makes these guys look like a bunch of whiny brats.

JustTheTrick tm said:

Does it matter it was leaked? It's the fact people illegally downloaded
It. Meh, so Epic are taking the law into their own hands... People shouldn't pirate games. Pre-release or not. Get over it.

I think it's grand that people who are assholes and did something against Epic's wishes are getting banned. I love it, and I would love to see more of it.

If you clearly have 0 respect for the company, as to be such an asshole, why should they respect you?

And to sit here and pretend like it's Epic's fault that somebody in the company went rogue is ridiculous. These actions are the result of individuals, not some giant, nameless entity. Those individuals are being punished, as they rightly should have been. Epic gave them one chance, and as The Doctor said, "You only get once chance. I'm that sort of man."

StFrancisFolly said:

I'm with Epic on this one.

JustTheTrick.tm said:

*phew*
for once I'm not alone on this one.

Xzarron said:

Bullshit.

Epic is a company that spends millions of dollars making games, developing, promoting, etc. How is it their fault that someone stole a copy? If you leave your cell phone on a park bench and someone steals it, should we blame you? Someone else committed the crime.

Anyone involved with stealing the copy, and or passing it on to others, downloading it, etc. should be banned. Every single one of them committed a crime. I can't believe you would side with criminals.

It seems like everyone these days wants to blame the developers when they should be blaming the shitty community.

Dean Cooper said:

Ok so if this was a respected company with the exact same problem say Bethesda Game Studios (don't care if you don't respect them I am just using them as an example because I do). Would people be saying the same thing? No, the staff sign a NDA for a reason and they should stick to that, leaked info or data should not be redistributed and to be honest I'd do the exact same thing in that situation. IF it was possible at all. The only way its possible is if somehow Epic can figure out which youtube account belongs to the same XBL account for the same person, now as long as these people aren't moronic enough to link these accounts in any way then they are safe.

I personally hate GoW multi-player as its filled with idiots who cant understand that using the saw on the lancer is not a cheat. Also levels are too small and variance of tactics is minimal. But that has nothing to do with how you respond to their measures for stopping illegal actions.

Detritus said:

It's a video that was being passed around, of the leaked game, that these guys are getting banned for. Piracy has nothing to do with anything here.

You Gears fanboys need to work on your reading comprehension before jumping to the defense of your Muscle Daddy.

tropicofanatic said:

Epic has every right to protect their intellectual property, however banning players from playing is a little bit draconian and crosses the line. I'm against Epic on this. Quite frankly, there are a multitude of games like Gears of War out there, so they need to stop acting like they're the only ones who can provide that sort of game experience.

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tropicofanatic on Epic Bans Fans Who Spoiled GOW 3: Epic has every right to protect their intellectual property, however banning players from playing is a little bit draconian and...

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