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Kotaku has been blacklisted by Bethesda Softworks and Ubisoft

EmCeeGramr

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Jun 25, 2005
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Why do you get so hung up on those specific examples when people are tired of Kotaku's/Gawker's ways in general?



+people and devs like Notch speaking out against Kotaku.

There have been plenty of threads here on neogaf too criticizing their ways.

Well, when the actions by Bethesda and Ubisoft were over specific things, I think it's important to talk about those specific things when discussing their actions, and not try and go off on irrelevant tangents in an attempt to justify a petty move by a company that makes toys I like.


I don't like lots of things about Kotaku, but those aren't what's being discussed here.
 

Myggen

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Mar 18, 2014
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I'm not even sure what Boogie is talking about in that video. If that's all he's got then no, he has never been blacklisted by Kotaku.

Also yeah, like EmCee says I think this whole issue is being clouded by people's general dislike for Kotaku. That shouldn't be the point here, the specific case of this blacklist is the issue.
 

Visceir

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Mar 20, 2007
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Well, when the actions by Bethesda and Ubisoft were over specific things, I think it's important to talk about those specific things when discussing their actions, and not try and go off on irrelevant tangents in an attempt to justify a petty move by a company that makes toys I like.


I don't like lots of things about Kotaku, but those aren't what's being discussed here.

Do we know for 100% certainty that they were blacklisted for those things and only those things?
 

AgeEighty

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Aug 2, 2014
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Well, when the actions by Bethesda and Ubisoft were over specific things, I think it's important to talk about those specific things when discussing their actions, and not try and go off on irrelevant tangents in an attempt to justify a petty move by a company that makes toys I like.

Yep. Not every debate about the media has to lead to a big-picture indictment of everything they do. You can not like a particular media outlet and still think they shouldn't be punished for doing their jobs.
 
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If I was Ubisoft, I would spill the beans about everything about the next Assassin's Creed to Kotaku extremely early, before it even has a chance to leak, and then give them an embargo so they can't post about it till it's officially revealed. Because Kotaku is bound to find out no matter what, but this way they can't post about it lol.

You know that's not how that works, right?

Like, the embargo is contained in a legal document a representative from Kotaku signs.

If Ubisoft offers the information before they announce the embargo terms (which wouldn't happen), Kotaku just declines to abide by the embargo and then reports what you told them.

If the embargo terms are offered first, Kotaku still says no, and that's that.
 

AgeEighty

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Aug 2, 2014
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Do we know for 100% certainty that they were blacklisted for those things and only those things?

No, we don't, because the other side isn't talking. But can you offer any proof that there's anything else? What articles can you cite that would have exacerbated the issues between them beyond what the articles Totilo mentions have done... and what would be Totilo's motive for not listing them?
 

EmCeeGramr

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Jun 25, 2005
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Do we know for 100% certainty that they were blacklisted for those things and only those things?

Well, if the timeframes here match up to when they published the stories in question, and there's no other obvious impetus for a blacklist, then I'm not sure what else it would have been for. I mean, unless Todd Howard randomly decided that Kotaku's review of Killzone: Shadowfall was full of shit and that was it.
 

Nanashrew

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Feb 16, 2014
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Ubi doesn't need to spill everything early. Just post an image of "soon" on one of their Twitter accounts and you already got the ball rolling that a new game in whatever series is coming.

Issues with many pubs is how dark they can go for long periods of time on a game. That secrecy they have. Many wait for E3 specifically to reveal whatever, even just concept art and footage like EA and their Star Wars Battlefront footage one year.


EDIT: Xseed does this thing where they post a very close up shot of something as a hint to a game coming soon. It's a clever way to get people interested and gives them something to do like analyze where and what it's from.
 

BreezyLimbo

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Jul 11, 2014
36,963
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I dunno if it's been discussed, but this issue goes into detail in this weeks Giant Bomb Beastcast. The general consensus was that while Bethesda/Ubi had reasons, it comes off as incredibly petty of them. But they also go into detail of reasons about why it might've been done, about what a journalists might go through when information that can be a leak crosses them..it's very interesting.

Here's a link, it starts 31 minutes in and is about half an hour about the news, embargos, and what not.
 

Aroll

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May 24, 2014
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Why Kotaku Was Right To Go Public When They Were Blacklisted By Two Major Video Game Publishers

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkai...e-blacklisted-by-major-video-game-publishers/

Bingo. This. all of this. Everyone who thinks Kotaku is bad for posting about this needs to read this. If you think Kotaku deserved to be blacklisted... read this.

Sometimes gamers have this false sense of what exactly a publication is supposed to do. We can't sit back and tell them it's unethical to attend review events and receive free drinks and gamer gear for a game your reviewing or previewing, but then also tell them it's wrong to share information even if said PR for said game doesn't want you to. The only time this is different is if your under embargo. Here is the thing - by blacklisting Kotaku, you've taken off any control you had over them. The best way to stop the leaks? Feed Kotaku yourself and set up a long term embargo agreement to keep the information under wraps.

Kotaku reporting on leaks they can verify are not in the wrong in any of this. The job of any outlet, any reporter, is to report information. I've had fans tell me as EiC of Zelda Informer that we "share too much information about Zelda games pre-release". We share what we are allowed to share, and if we don't have a review copy, we have no embargo, so we share anything we can find. Our goal is to inform, not to be corporate shills. You can't have open and honest journalism while also saying sites and journalists need to be nice to the hand that feeds it. No, they don't. We didn't get a copy of Tri Force Heroes. That's fine, we're cool with not getting anything. But then we see outlets who literally said "hey I got Tri Force Heroes" in a video or on twitter and then never mention the game again... even to this day. Is that beneficial to Nintendo?

Not really. We've let them know about this not because we care to do the best job we can - which we do - but because we feel consumers should be privy to information and outlets who are literally not going to do anything with a copy but toss it on their shelf are not beneficial for anyone.

Kotaku is doing what they are supposed to be doing.
 

v0yce

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Nov 20, 2006
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I'm sure that comeback was pretty dope in your mind.

I think the "only silly exaggerated type of people don't agree with what I'm saying" is a really terrible means of communication. Like he used a couple of times on this page.

What about you?
 

benny_a

extra source of jiggaflops
Apr 25, 2009
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I think the "only silly exaggerated type of people don't agree with what I'm saying" is a really terrible means of communication. Like he used a couple of times on this page.

What about you?
I think the article contextualizes the reason why the story exists.
 

EmCeeGramr

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Jun 25, 2005
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I think the "only silly exaggerated type of people don't agree with what I'm saying" is a really terrible means of communication. Like he used a couple of times on this page.

What about you?

I think that using exaggerated language to point out what I feel are flaws in things being baselessly treated as accepted truths in this thread (a game news site reporting on an announced but expected game is "starting shit" and acting mean; a journalist needs to consider a marketing team's hype cycle for "epic reveals") clearly communicates what I feel about them.
 

Clockwork5

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Feb 19, 2013
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530
Bingo. This. all of this. Everyone who thinks Kotaku is bad for posting about this needs to read this. If you think Kotaku deserved to be blacklisted... read this.

Sometimes gamers have this false sense of what exactly a publication is supposed to do. We can't sit back and tell them it's unethical to attend review events and receive free drinks and gamer gear for a game your reviewing or previewing, but then also tell them it's wrong to share information even if said PR for said game doesn't want you to. The only time this is different is if your under embargo. Here is the thing - by blacklisting Kotaku, you've taken off any control you had over them. The best way to stop the leaks? Feed Kotaku yourself and set up a long term embargo agreement to keep the information under wraps.

Kotaku reporting on leaks they can verify are not in the wrong in any of this. The job of any outlet, any reporter, is to report information. I've had fans tell me as EiC of Zelda Informer that we "share too much information about Zelda games pre-release". We share what we are allowed to share, and if we don't have a review copy, we have no embargo, so we share anything we can find. Our goal is to inform, not to be corporate shills. You can't have open and honest journalism while also saying sites and journalists need to be nice to the hand that feeds it. No, they don't. We didn't get a copy of Tri Force Heroes. That's fine, we're cool with not getting anything. But then we see outlets who literally said "hey I got Tri Force Heroes" in a video or on twitter and then never mention the game again... even to this day. Is that beneficial to Nintendo?

Not really. We've let them know about this not because we care to do the best job we can - which we do - but because we feel consumers should be privy to information and outlets who are literally not going to do anything with a copy but toss it on their shelf are not beneficial for anyone.

Kotaku is doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Ok.... Kotaku can release info that the publishers wish to release at a later date. And does it every opportunity they get. What then should the publisher do. How should they go about protecting their investments, ip, and shareholders?
 

Anne

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Dec 31, 2013
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Ok.... Kotaku can release info that the publishers wish to release at a later date. And does it every opportunity they get. What then should the publisher do. How should they go about protecting their investments, ip, and shareholders?

Get better at protecting information and have a good PR team to deal with it when they fail?
 

Brakke

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Jan 21, 2014
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Ok.... Kotaku can release info that the publishers wish to release at a later date. And does it every opportunity they get. What then should the publisher do. How should they go about protecting their investments, ip, and shareholders?

...did revealing the existence of Fallout 4 a little early in some way endanger their investment?
 

Novel Mike

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Jun 4, 2014
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Get better at protecting information and have a good PR team to deal with it when they fail?

Exactly, shit like this gets leaked you see 1 of 3 things happen.

Either 1) They are really stupid, they claim its not true at all or lie about it.

2) The understandable approach "We don't comment on rumors and speculation" Or just don't say a damn thing.

3) The smart thing, Spin it. Have your PR guy go welp this wasn't suppose to get out but hey at least they didn't get THE MOST IMPORTANT AWESOME PART!
 

APF

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Apr 13, 2005
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What then should the publisher do. How should they go about protecting their investments, ip, and shareholders?

Figure out why someone decided to leak in the first place and fix their own house?

Edit: #3 above is literally what you should always do: make lemonade, get free publicity, tantalize fans. No downside.
 

Mr_Antimatter

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Feb 5, 2013
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I came to post that exact comic. There is also an entry from Jerry talking about this.

And I completely agree. I can understand doing some sort of leak if it's for something big and newsworthy -- something that could even harm a company's standing with the public. But most of the covering has in fact been "Start Shit", and their habit of parading their pride in it because it's The Gawker Way™ has earned them the contempt and blacklisting of companies.

It isn't that you need to kiss the companies' feet, but there is such a thing as boundaries. It seems that in the name of journalism, some people have said to hell with boundaries, let's just mindlessly push the envelope as much as possible.

I for one am glad they're doing this to Kotaku. And not just them - but anyone else that acts like they have. Kotaku have good people in it, but the philosophy they subscribe to is fucked up more often than not.

The comic is flawed in it's reasoning though: Kotaku didn't violate any trust. This makes it sound like they broke an embargo or NDA, but the realty is that indeed, they broke no agreements. Someone leaked the documents to them, hoping that they be published, and so they published parts of them.

No boundaries were really pushed or broken here, it's your average leak is all. The Publishers action is more about using their access rights to discourage other journalists or sites from ever publishing a leak.

What P-A is doing is a bit of poisoning the well, probably because they make good money working with publishers and thus, cannot come down on any other side.
 

Nephtis

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Jul 31, 2013
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I think that using exaggerated language to point out what I feel are flaws in things being baselessly treated as accepted truths in this thread (a game news site reporting on an announced but expected game is "starting shit" and acting mean; a journalist needs to consider a marketing team's hype cycle for "epic reveals") clearly communicates what I feel about them.

I wasn't talking about these particular instances as them "starting shit" (though an argument could be made)but they are known for it. Eventually something was going to make the companies patience disappear. I think these were said "somethings".

[edit] for fucks sake I need to watch my timing so I'm not the first post in the new page lol
 

Nanashrew

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Feb 16, 2014
17,263
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Exactly, shit like this gets leaked you see 1 of 3 things happen.

Either 1) They are really stupid, they claim its not true at all or lie about it.

2) The understandable approach "We don't comment on rumors and speculation" Or just don't say a damn thing.

3) The smart thing, Spin it. Have your PR guy go welp this wasn't suppose to get out but hey at least they didn't get THE MOST IMPORTANT AWESOME PART!

As much crap as I give EA, at least their marketing can be funny and how they spun the Hercules checks in NHL 13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c071yZBOfQ

That's a good way to handle a bad or crappy situation.
 

Quote

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Aug 11, 2009
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I really like this idea of future where publishers control all PR. They have never done us wrong and have always delivered on their promises.

Learn to love The Hype Machine.
 
Sep 28, 2009
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I think the real question is whether or not leaks actually affect game sales negatively like marketing teams and internet idiots seem to think.

And they don't. It's a specious claim. Just look at Fallout 4. Bethesda's investors, ip values or sales figures were not harmed by the leak.

Someone got their panties in a ruffle, not their wallet emptied.
 

Google

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Mar 7, 2006
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I think the real question is whether or not leaks actually affect game sales negatively like marketing teams and internet idiots seem to think.

And they don't.
How do you know this? Are you from a parallel universe where Fallout's marketing pain was perfectly executed as Zenimax would have liked?
 
Sep 28, 2009
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How do you know this? Are you from a parallel universe where Fallout's marketing pain was perfectly executed as Zenimax would have liked?

I'm not psychic or anything but then neither is Zenimax. I think the sales numbers speak for themselves about the ability of leaks to harm companies. Not making a theoretical amount of money you hoped to in your projections isn't the same thing as losing money, and the connection between leaks and not hitting internal projection numbers is tenuous as best.

edit: Also, let Bethesda and Ubi do what they like. If they genuinely do feel that giving rote, routine information to Kotaku is going to mean they don't make as much as they would like, so be it. But if they want everyone else to believe it too they better show us the receipts.
 

James93

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Nov 26, 2013
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Its the issue you have in the gaming media. Publishers essentially pay most of salaries of the writers. Its a place where you have to toe around biting the hand that feeds you. Its a screwed up system but its not going to change. PR firms do what they think is in the best interest of the company. Getting blacklisted is part of the business
 

Lunar15

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Jun 15, 2011
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Well, I pretty much completely forgot about all the Prey 2 shit. I still don't really love their tone, but I'm definitely more on their side. Not that I agreed with bethesda, but I was calling kotaku out for complaining after the fallout incident without remembering the Prey stuff.

Do your research, kids.
 

Brakke

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Jan 21, 2014
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I think the real question is whether or not leaks actually affect game sales negatively like marketing teams and internet idiots seem to think.

And they don't. It's a specious claim. Just look at Fallout 4. Bethesda's investors, ip values or sales figures were not harmed by the leak.

Someone got their panties in a ruffle, not their wallet emptied.

The one thing almost certainly harmed by a leak is the marketing plan. A certain amount of work making trailers or screenshots or press release copy or whatever either have to be thrown out and re-done or else hit with less impact. But why should anyone give a shit about that?

Which is why this is "petty". The damage from the leak accrues almost exclusively to marketing, but even then most of that damage is pride. Between peopling hyping on the leak and people hyping on the marketing, a huge number of people get reach. So then marketing retaliates for... Kotaku doing their job for them? The job still got done.

Marketing getting mad makes a certain sense of course. They are evaluated on their specific contribution to hype. If their metric is "people who know about Fallout today who didn't yesterday", then that number gets sandbagged by people who found out about it from a leak.

A marketing executive wants to be able to stand up at a meeting and say "my plan cost X dollars and reached Y people". Because, after all, if Kotaku doing things on their own is just as effective as Marketing spending a bunch of money, why does Mr. Marketing even have a job? Mrs. Sales doesn't care who gets the message out, just that it does get out. And Ms. CEO doesn't care how a message gets out either except that she's funding Mr. Marketing and maybe he doesn't deserve a bonus this year after all.

So the leak is fine for Bethesda's business (making and selling games) but bad for marketing. In other cases, a leak might be bad for the business -- if it paints an in-production game in an unflattering light that Marketing can't shake -- but that's a different question than we see here.
 

zoozilla

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Jul 6, 2013
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My 2 cents:

It's Kotaku's prerogative to publish stories about leaked games. They've got the info, there's no reason why they shouldn't run with it.

It's a publisher's prerogative to cut off relations with a publication if they think that publication is damaging them (whether that's true or not). Is it shitty of Ubisoft/Bethesda in this case? Yeah. Is it unexpected? Eh, I don't think so.

If Kotaku wants to be the site that "tells the stories the publishers don't WANT you to hear," then they shouldn't be surprised that publishers will try to avoid them.

And so far Kotaku doesn't seem to be suffering from the blacklisting, so good for them.
 

Visceir

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Mar 20, 2007
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Well, if the timeframes here match up to when they published the stories in question, and there's no other obvious impetus for a blacklist, then I'm not sure what else it would have been for. I mean, unless Todd Howard randomly decided that Kotaku's review of Killzone: Shadowfall was full of shit and that was it.

Kotaku - Ubisoft Refused To Talk To Me About Women

Not sure where that article fits in the timeframe, but it seems like this was the last E3 Ubisoft interacted with Kotaku. That whole article feels like "starting shit" and it doesn't seem like the Ubisoft PR people were all too happy with those interviews.

And wasn't the whole Far Cry 4 box art being called racist debacle shortly before that?
 

Silent Chief

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Oct 17, 2014
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I'm not psychic or anything but then neither is Zenimax. I think the sales numbers speak for themselves about the ability of leaks to harm companies. Not making a theoretical amount of money you hoped to in your projections isn't the same thing as losing money, and the connection between leaks and not hitting internal projection numbers is tenuous as best.

edit: Also, let Bethesda and Ubi do what they like. If they genuinely do feel that giving rote, routine information to Kotaku is going to mean they don't make as much as they would like, so be it. But if they want everyone else to believe it too they better show us the receipts.

The only sales argument that work here is to conclude that Bethesda is doing everything right.
Didn't Kotaku just reveal that they were blacklisted after seeing those huge sales and howling in despair?
 

ScatheZombie

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Apr 5, 2014
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I think the real question is whether or not leaks actually affect game sales negatively like marketing teams and internet idiots seem to think.

And they don't. It's a specious claim. Just look at Fallout 4. Bethesda's investors, ip values or sales figures were not harmed by the leak.

Someone got their panties in a ruffle, not their wallet emptied.

That isn't how leaks can negatively affect a publisher. I explained earlier in the thread how they can have a real money value attached to them, depending on the gravity of the leak and how it impacts your established marketing and publishing contracts. There is a very real possibility (but not certainty) that the Kotaku leaks actually cost Ubisoft and Bethesda real money.
 

AgeEighty

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If Kotaku wants to be the site that "tells the stories the publishers don't WANT you to hear," then they shouldn't be surprised that publishers will try to avoid them.

They're not surprised. But something being surprising and being correct are two different things. And that doesn't mean they weren't doing their jobs. Do you honestly think any other site who got those scoops would have sat on them? This isn't an exclusively Kotaku thing.

A journal is taking the side of journalists?

No wonder newspaper sales are down every year.

Except that in this case, they're right.

Find me one poorly reasoned argument in that article.
 

Teeth

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May 7, 2014
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A lot of the arguments in this thread can be reduced to "publishers have an incentive to do this, therefore deal with it." As if the end result being bad for us is somehow besides the point.

But the end result is good for you.
 

Mass_Pincup

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Feb 25, 2014
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A lot of the arguments in this thread can be reduced to "publishers have an incentive to do this, therefore deal with it." As if the end result being bad for us is somehow besides the point.

Unless you work for Kotaku I don't see how this situation is in any way bad for you. Ubisoft and Bethesda are not willing to respond to Kotaku but they still will respond to the hundreds of other gaming websites. And you'll still have Kotaku publishing the kind of article that put them in this situation.
 
Nov 16, 2007
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Ok.... Kotaku can release info that the publishers wish to release at a later date. And does it every opportunity they get. What then should the publisher do. How should they go about protecting their investments, ip, and shareholders?

It's not Kotaku's job to protect a publisher's investment, ip, and shareholders. It's their job to report on the news.
 

DeepEnigma

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Unless you work for Kotaku I don't see how this situation is in any way bad for you. Ubisoft and Bethesda are not willing to respond to Kotaku but they still will respond to the hundreds of other gaming websites.

Because it sets a precedence of, "do what we say on our terms of controlled information, or you get nothing at all". It is a slippery slope for sure. And a lot of the big media sites have been hype and PR machines for them for quite a long time. That is not journalism or news.
 

Teeth

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Because it sets a precedence of, "do what we say on our terms of controlled information, or you get nothing at all". It is a slippery slope for sure. And a lot of the big media sites have been hype and PR machines for them for quite a long time. That is not journalism or news.

That's all they were getting in the first place.
 

Apollo Cree

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Because it sets a precedence of, "do what we say on our terms of controlled information, or you get nothing at all". It is a slippery slope for sure. And a lot of the big media sites have been hype and PR machines for them for quite a long time. That is not journalism or news.
It's not a slippery slope. Kotaku's writers want to be journalists so they will be treated like journalists.