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Kotaku has been blacklisted by Bethesda Softworks and Ubisoft

Apr 9, 2015
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Revealing trade secrets is illegal and unethical. It's not good journalism.

If you get information that you're not supposed to have OR if you get information from people who were not supposed to give it to you, then it is entirely unethical to publicize it. It's cut and dry. We are talking about trade secrets here! We are not talking about issues of health, safety, or public welfare. It IS shocking that people don't understand the difference.

What no it's not. Unless the person publishing the article signed an NDA, is endangering people or used illegal methods to acquire them they have every right and moral ground to do so.

And it's not like they leaked the source code or the entire voice recordings of the game.
 

APF

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Apr 13, 2005
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If it was illegal why haven't Bethesda or Ubisoft sued? They pretty much have an obligation to do so. This line of argument yet again does not put these companies in a better light.
 

Xisiqomelir

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Dec 25, 2006
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Serious question, can someone explain the "Kotaku is the Fox News of games journalism" tweet by Notch?



This isn't the first time he called the site out either.



AFAIK, the only hostility Mojang ever received from gawkerNet was the accusation that their 2013 GDC booth babes were $300/hr P4P.

That was denied in a followup article.
 
Nov 7, 2007
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still not a trade secret

Yes it is.

For something to be considered a trade secret, it has to be something unknown to the public, the company had to have taken meaningful measure to keep it secret (making their employees sign NDAs, for instance), and there has to be an economic advantage to the company for keeping it secret. The existence of game likely wouldn't be considered a trade secret, but it's script (and information about its script) most certainly would be. (Movie scripts are considered trade secrets too, by the way.) Plots can be considered trade secrets, as can project designs.

SCRIPTS AND PLOTS ARE TRADE SECRETS.
 

Jackben

bitch I'm taking calls.
Feb 4, 2012
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Elais, S. Trade Secret Law: Overview. [Online, 1998.] Marketing Today Website. http://www.marketingtoday.com/legal/tradesec.htm; Nolo, Inc. Trade Secrets Basic FAQ. [Online, 2002.] Nolo, Inc. Website. http://cobrands.business.findlaw.com/intellectual_ property/nolo/faq/90781CA8-0ECE-4E38-BF9E29F7A6DA5830.html#48637D5E-5443- 4BCB-BE711598E9369ACC.
Using the very same source you just quoted:

Please explain how the existence of Fallout 4 was not reasonably ascertainable, was uncovered using illegal methods, and allowed another business to obtain an economic advantage over Bethesda.
 

shootfast

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Aug 26, 2009
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If it was illegal why haven't Bethesda or Ubisoft sued? They pretty much have an obligation to do so. This line of argument yet again does not put these companies in a better light.

Cause Apple lost

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_v._Does

The appellate court held that Trade Secrets do not, by themselves, categorically transcend freedom of the press, that there is no relevant legal distinction between journalistic blogging online and traditional print journalism with regard to the shield law, and that Apple's attempt to subpoena the email service provider of one of the journals was a violation of the U.S. federal law known as the Stored Communications Act.[1]

So they simply blacklist them. Which also totally legal, if you going to expose trade secrets expect a response. Kotaku has right to the freedom of the press, publishers have the right to be silent and not interact in anyway.
 

Jackben

bitch I'm taking calls.
Feb 4, 2012
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Cause Apple lost

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_v._Does

The appellate court held that Trade Secrets do not, by themselves, categorically transcend freedom of the press, that there is no relevant legal distinction between journalistic blogging online and traditional print journalism with regard to the shield law, and that Apple's attempt to subpoena the email service provider of one of the journals was a violation of the U.S. federal law known as the Stored Communications Act.[1]

So they simply blacklist them. Which also totally legal, if you going to expose trade secrets expect a response. Kotaku has right to the freedom of the press, publishers have the right to be silent and not interact in anyway.
This is actually a really good post in context. I still disagree that the existence of a game = a trade secret. But even if we consider it so, what Kotaku is doing is not illegal. Even if it isn't illegal I agree these developers have the right to blacklist them for it.

People saying that Kotaku reporting news is illegal are wrong. Period.
 

Whompa02

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Serious question, can someone explain the "Kotaku is the Fox News of games journalism" tweet by Notch?

Not my words but maybe he equates stuff like when Kotaku does things like reporting on internal game development, to tmz articles like, "look at who Drake kissed last night."

Causes internal or personal strife when the public knows something the game dev doesn't want them to know...especially if it's a project in development.
 
Jan 29, 2007
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Cause Apple lost

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_v._Does



So they simply blacklist them. Which also totally legal, if you going to expose trade secrets expect a response. Kotaku has right to the freedom of the press, publishers have the right to be silent and not interact in anyway.

Exactly. That's what is so schizophrenic about this whole debacle. They're both in the right for their decisions.

This whole thing is about 'What are your feelings towards Kotaku or Ubisoft?' That's it. Both actions that were taken are legal in their own rights.
 
Nov 7, 2007
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If it was illegal why haven't Bethesda or Ubisoft sued? They pretty much have an obligation to do so. This line of argument yet again does not put these companies in a better light.

Shield laws protect the journalists from revealing their sources. If you can't identify a specific infringer, you can't prove that an NDA was broken. If someone at Ubisoft was leaking information that they were legally obligated to keep secret, but Ubisoft couldn't prove who leaked the information, then they would have no basis for a lawsuit.
 

Jacksinthe

Banned
May 26, 2014
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Revealing trade secrets is illegal and unethical. It's not good journalism.

If you get information that you're not supposed to have OR if you get information from people who were not supposed to give it to you, then it is entirely unethical to publicize it. It's cut and dry. We are talking about trade secrets here! We are not talking about issues of health, safety, or public welfare. It IS shocking that people don't understand the difference.
Trade secrets would mean posting the code for the engine on pastebin, marketing strategies, investors, etc.

Screenshots and information about a game almost everyone knows is in the works because big pubs are too chicken shit to make new IPs so they just regurgitate the same material is hardly a "trade secret".

I've seen only two arguments that can support NOT posting leaks: in the case of fledgling developers leaking can cause Ninja devs to steal the IP, as HAS happened. In the case of larger devs it may break some PR agreements if the game is leaked early.

I don't think Bethesda or Ubi are fledgling devs and I don't think pubs should be cozying up to the media with exclusive deals for first announcements.

So I think the leaks were fine, in this case. As stated, these aren't new IPs and we already knew they would regurgitate the same crap they always do. I would go so far as to say the leaks were of a "no shit, Sherlock" value - meaning they only served to reinforce what many of us had speculated.

In the case of a new IP I would be hesitant and in many cases, most new IP leaks don't have as much to go on other than hearsay and some concept art which can mean anything.
 

shootfast

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Using the very same source you just quoted:

Please explain how the existence of Fallout 4 was not reasonably ascertainable, was uncovered using illegal methods, and allowed another business to obtain an economic advantage over Bethesda.

http://www.non-competes.com/2013/08/do-final-episodes-of-breaking-bad.html

http://www.tradesecretslaw.com/2013...-last-episodes-of-breaking-bad-trade-secrets/

Both links deals with final episodes of Breaking Bad and if they're trade secrets but can easily apply to Fallout 4.

Are the Final Episodes of Breaking Bad Trade Secrets?

Based on the economic value of the scripts, as well as the intense efforts to maintain the secrecy, the final episodes of Breaking Bad would likely be considered Trade Secrets until they enter the public domain. While their trade secret status is temporary, those in the know should keep this information confidential until the show’s final episodes officially air.
 

Jackben

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Feb 4, 2012
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Both links deals with final episodes of Breaking Bad and if they're trade secrets but can easily apply to Fallout 4.
This makes even less sense to me. But we've already established that what Kotaku is doing isn't illegal, so there is no reason to continue this line of discussion.
 

Am_I_Evil

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Nov 12, 2013
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Scripts, plots, treatments, and project designs are considered trade secrets too.

so basically no one should ever leak anything? how boring would movie/game news be without this type of information? Never knowing anything until corporate decides you should...Hell sites like "Ain't it Cool" made it big off the backs of leaked scripts and the like....
 
Nov 7, 2007
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And this is literally all you need to know about this red herring.

It's really not that simple. Shield laws don't mean that Kotaku acted in a lawful or ethical manner here. They merely mean that Bethesda and Ubisoft can't prove that they did. It's a complex issue. You can't break NDAs and you can't knowingly reveal trade secrets from people that you believe to have broken NDAs, but unless someone can prove that either of these things took place, you're in the clear.

Let's say someone breaks into Disney, steals the script for Star Wars, sends it to Gawker, and then Gawker posts information about the script online. Gawker would clearly acting in an unethical way and their actions would violate trade secret laws as well.

However, unless Disney could prove that Gawker knowingly received information from the thief and knew that the information was obtained illegally, it would never make it to trial. If shield laws didn't exist, however, and Disney could force Gawker to identify their source, then it would be a different story. The existence of shield laws would protect Gawker in this instance, but they wouldn't necessarily mean that they were acting ethically or lawfully.
 

DeepEnigma

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Dec 3, 2013
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But isn't that the case? I mean, newspapers, websites hire critics AND investigative journalists. And the writings of one segment do not cause the other to get blacklisted/removed from screenings. In the case of film, publications that critique an early showing also report on contracts, casting rumors, and director PR gaffes. And so it ought to be in games.

Why can't people grasp how much more petty it makes these companies look.

Wow.

It's so mean of Kotaku for example to write about how predatory Zenimax's acquisition strategy is. Why does nobody think about poor Zenimax that can't exploit developers' ignorance. The modus operandi is a trade secret!

Don't feel too bad. A lot of gamers don't know what journalism actually is. They are used to PR puff pieces.

So damned true. So true it hurts.
 

Apollo Cree

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Oct 27, 2013
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But isn't that the case? I mean, newspapers, websites hire critics AND investigative journalists. And the writings of one segment do not cause the other to get blacklisted/removed from screenings. In the case of film, publications that critique an early showing also report on contracts, casting rumors, and director PR gaffes. And so it ought to be in games.
The investigative journalists at those publications usually have their sights set on bigger fish than movie companies, unless something particularly heinous went down.

The second half of the paragraph is reasonable. The issue isn't that people think Kotaku shouldn't be doing this. The main argument is that the publishers are justified in their actions. As petty as it is, they are. They feel that interactions with Kotaku are no longer beneficial and as a result, have removed them.
 

Jacksinthe

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May 26, 2014
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It's really not that simple. Shield laws don't mean that Kotaku acted in a lawful or ethical manner here. They merely mean that Bethesda and Ubisoft can't prove that they did. It's a complex issue. You can't break NDAs and you can't knowingly reveal trade secrets from people that believe to have broken NDAs, but unless someone can prove that either of these things took place, you're in the clear.

Let's say someone breaks into Disney, steals the script for Star Wars, sends it to Gawker, and then Gawker posts information about the script online. Gawker would clearly acting in an unethical way and their actions would violate trade secret laws as well.

However, unless Disney could prove that Gawker knowingly received information from the thief and knew that the information was obtained illegally, it would never make it to trial. If shield laws didn't exist, however, and Disney could force Gawker to identify their source, then it would be a different story. The existence of shield laws would protect Gawker in this instance, but they wouldn't necessarily mean that they were acting ethically or lawfully.
Again, since you only read what you want, I'll repeat myself.

Leaking information about a game we know is in the works, which doesn't change formula from previous iterations, is a regurgitation of old ideas, etc - I would hardly call a "trade secret".

It can simply be classified under: "no shit, Sherlock". The leaks only served to reinforce what we were already speculating because its the same shit, different year.

A new IP would be thinner ice but this shit is old hat.
 

silvermember

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Feb 16, 2014
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The investigative journalists at those publications usually have their sights set on bigger fish than movie companies, unless something particularly heinous went down.

Kotaku is leaking petty information that is a nuisance to publishers more than anything else.
No kotaku is publishing information given to them. They are not the leaker.

Just like snowden is the leaker not the guardian.

Kotaku is doing their job, the leaker is violating their company's NDA.
 
Nov 7, 2007
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so basically no one should ever leak anything? how boring would movie/game news be without this type of information? Never knowing anything until corporate decides you should...Hell sites like "Ain't it Cool" made it big off the backs of leaked scripts and the like....

Yes.

People should never leak anything that they are legally obligated not to leak. If you work for a company and you break an NDA, you shouldn't do it. Simple.

If you have a blog and you receive information from someone who knowingly broke an NDA, then you should not leak it. Simple.

I agree that it would make things "boring" but if there's no ethical basis for leaking information that companies have taken appropriate measure to keep secret.
 

DeepEnigma

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Dec 3, 2013
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It's really not that simple. Shield laws don't mean that Kotaku acted in a lawful or ethical manner here. They merely mean that Bethesda and Ubisoft can't prove that they did. It's a complex issue. You can't break NDAs and you can't knowingly reveal trade secrets from people that you believe to have broken NDAs, but unless someone can prove that either of these things took place, you're in the clear.

Let's say someone breaks into Disney, steals the script for Star Wars, sends it to Gawker, and then Gawker posts information about the script online. Gawker would clearly acting in an unethical way and their actions would violate trade secret laws as well.

However, unless Disney could prove that Gawker knowingly received information from the thief and knew that the information was obtained illegally, it would never make it to trial. If shield laws didn't exist, however, and Disney could force Gawker to identify their source, then it would be a different story. The existence of shield laws would protect Gawker in this instance, but they wouldn't necessarily mean that they were acting ethically or lawfully.

Kotaku omitted a lot of the key story, and never posted the game's script. Just the "plot", if you would call it that.

The plot from Star Wars was posted (which there are leaked sites, but they call them "rumor", and they have solid contacts with pics to prove it), however the script was not.

A plot is basically a synopsis. It does not harm either one, lol. People are going to buy and see it regardless. I never met a single person, all like, "shit man, there goes the plot, guess I do not see or play it anymore, fuck someone spoiled TWD for me on Facebook 10 minutes into the show, I was planning on DVRing it for tomorrow, but scratch that now". It does suck for said person, but will do nothing of significance financially to the companies. And those stories are also optional for said person. Nothing was spoiled for me, because I did not click on it.

It really is a silly argument. Plus companies leak shit on purpose a lot, to appear viral, to build hype. They do not just stick to standard "PR". If anything, it was free hype built up for them. Just probably a few sites pissy they could not have and "exclusive paid for" deal for the story.
 

Apollo Cree

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Oct 27, 2013
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No kotaku is publishing information given to them. They are not the leaker.

Just like snowden is the leaker not the guardian.

Kotaku is doing their job, the leaker is violating their company's NDA.
I misused the phrase. I wasn't implying that Kotaku was releasing information given to them in-confidence.

I was saying Kotaku is releasing petty information and are getting petty reactions as a result.
 

Am_I_Evil

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Nov 12, 2013
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Yes.

People should never leak anything that they are legally obligated not to leak. If you work for a company and you break an NDA, you shouldn't do it. Simple.

If you have a blog and you receive information from someone who knowingly broke an NDA, then you should not leak it. Simple.

I agree that it would make things "boring" but if there's no ethical basis for leaking information that companies have taken appropriate measure to keep secret.

First part...i agree with...when you're under NDA you shouldn't leak anything...

but its not a journalists or bloggers responsibility to enforce that...if they have information that their readers may want they don't work for these companies & they are under no obligation to not put this info out there...

now should they get upset when they get blacklisted because of it? of course not...that's a chance you take when leaking info...i'm sure Ain't it Cool and websites like it have been blacklisted from all kinds of things over the years...but when readers are wondering why reviews are coming late, or why there is no review on a certain game I don't see anything wrong with making your audience aware of the situation...

not really gaming related...but what is your opinion on TV spoilers? There are tons of websites dedicated to this alone. I'm assuming based on everything you've said here that you think they are all in the wrong but i'm just curious how you compare the 2 situations...
 
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So they simply blacklist them. Which also totally legal, if you going to expose trade secrets expect a response. Kotaku has right to the freedom of the press, publishers have the right to be silent and not interact in anyway.

To me, this conversation was never about what is and isn't legal. I mean, as far as I know, Bethesda and Ubi haven't filed lawsuits against Kotaku, nor has Kotaku called law enforcement to let them know that the law is being broken since Todd Howard is legally obligated to return the phone calls of anyone who claims to be from the press. Mind you, I'm not trying to shut down any conversation about the specifics of the laws at play here, but I'll be perfectly honest and note that I have next to no real interest in that conversation seeing as how I'm not a lawyer.

To me, the conversation is more just about the court of public opinion. And the concerns here are mainly just concerns on one side that content makers may have too much power as the gatekeepers to information, and on the other it's just a question of morality as to what you think the responsibility is of a journalist to respect the confidentiality of information that may come across their desk or inbox.

As it pertains to the former, my biggest concern is when I see people offering sentiments like "Kotaku got what was coming; don't bite the hand that feeds you." And what bothers me is not that I think publishers don't have the right to assign preferences to various media outlets. But there's an implication at play here that I find uncomfortable: that the raison d'etre of the press in this hobby is basically to be marketing pawns for publishers. I've read more than a few posts in here that seem to almost insinuate that it's a moral violation to undermine marketing's master plan to generate maximum hype for their upcoming title. And this is just something that I cannot get behind.

Mind you, at the other end of the spectrum, I do not think that the role of a journalist is to acquire proprietary information at all costs because I need my dirt and scoops. I'm not encouraging that they become the paparazzi and or violate NDAs or hack into mainframes to get information the company doesn't want out. To that end, I understand that it may be worth considering exactly how Kotaku got this information. Are they employing underhanded tactics?

That's an honest question. I don't know. If one thinks that dirty pool is afoot here, then maybe the publisher is absolutely in the right to strike back in the manner that is most meaningful for them. Radio silence in response to irresponsible journalism may very well be the appropriate play here. But if it's just because marketing is all-powerful and their expectations are not to be defied, then I would argue that blacklisting is pretty damn petty and that the relationship between publishers and journalists is pretty broken in this industry.
 

APF

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You can't break NDAs and you can't knowingly reveal trade secrets from people that you believe to have broken NDAs, but unless someone can prove that either of these things took place, you're in the clear.
But no one is alleging Kotaku broke an NDA or obtained the information illegally (eg through outright theft, not via leaking), so the entirety of your point is moot.
 

Teeth

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But no one is alleging Kotaku broke an NDA or obtained the information illegally (eg through outright theft, not via leaking), so the entirety of your point is moot.

I think the idea that they are trying to put forward is that it's like buying a stereo that you know is stolen. I don't believe it's illegal when you can't prove that a person KNOWS it was stolen, but it's "unethical".
 

DeepEnigma

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I think the idea that they are trying to put forward is that it's like buying a stereo that you know is stolen. I don't believe it's illegal when you can't prove that a person KNOWS it was stolen, but it's "unethical".

I also personally feel having sites "pay" for exclusive stories, or you offer them a wealth of "gifts" for them to be your PR hype trumpet, bribe them with ad revenue, etc. is also unethical. Especially when there is supposed to be unbiased objectivity in the press... hold on, I had to keep from laughing at what I just typed for a second... okay okay I am good now. But we are conditioned to think this is "normal" behavior.
 

Teeth

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I also personally feel having sites "pay" for exclusive stories, or you offer them a wealth of "gifts" for them to be your PR hype trumpet, bribe them with ad revenue, etc. is also unethical. Especially when there is supposed to be unbiased objectivity in the press... hold on, I had to keep from laughing at what I just typed for a second... okay okay I am good now. But we are conditioned to think this is "normal" behavior.

Took the words out of my mouth. Which is why this blacklist is the best thing any audience could hope for.
 

Jacksinthe

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May 26, 2014
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Took the words out of my mouth. Which is why this blacklist is the best thing any audience could hope for.
It actually isn't the best. It restricts access to interviews from developers, key players, previews, etc. If nobody was ever allowed a preview build, to talk to devs, etc - we would have a few paragraphs at best on some official website to inform us about the games. No real "meat and potatoes" coverage.

I agree that not being buddy-buddy with swag and exclusivity deals is ideal - but there is more to game journalism than product reviews which is MOST affected by partnerships. A lot more.
 

APF

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I think the idea that they are trying to put forward is that it's like buying a stereo that you know is stolen.

Which isn't actually what happened in this situation; there's a huge ethical difference in publishing information which came from an internal leaker vs information which came from eg a break-in or hack (although many media orgs will still publish info from hacks, and/or point to the entire archives of those hacks, including gold-standards like the NYT, which seems to me to be entirely more ambiguous in terms of ethicality). We've already established that it's not illegal to publish, and we've already established that it's not "clearly" unethical to publish (for better or worse it's common in entertainment press, meaning we've accepted it as a community standard). So all we have left is that maybe the scope of what they published exceeded some folks' personal standards for release, which is far less of an aggressive condemnation, and far more arguable a point, than people are trying to assert.
 

BreezyLimbo

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As it pertains to the former, my biggest concern is when I see people offering sentiments like "Kotaku got what was coming; don't bite the hand that feeds you." And what bothers me is not that I think publishers don't have the right to assign preferences to various media outlets. But there's an implication at play here that I find uncomfortable: that the raison d'etre of the press in this hobby is basically to be marketing pawns for publishers. I've read more than a few posts in here that seem to almost insinuate that it's a moral violation to undermine marketing's master plan to generate maximum hype for their upcoming title. And this is just something that I cannot get behind.

Im highlighting this part because well...I dont disagree with it but its a good point to rear my point with. 10 years ago the landscape was different-sites like IGN or gamespot or gamong magazines were integral to a publishers marketing. Vinny from GiantBomb talks how publishers would give a cold shoulder to gamespot when they badly reviewed a game but by the time a new game came out they were talking again. Because back then a big site was integral in marketing a game.

Im reiterating from a discussion had at GB, but now a days a publisher can socially market their game. They give access to fans and the fans will market it for them. They use Youtube personalities to market their game, and usually the youtube personalities will be positive about it. I think PewDiePie has talked about how hes been approached by publishers to play a game simply because of his huge exposure.

The landscape has changed. Ubisoft and Bethesda can afford to blacklist Kotaku, despite Kotaku being a huge site. And Kotaku will still run stories on Fallout or Assassins Creed, so its a net positive for the publishers, that they suffer little to no repercussion(except for the court of public opinion, like you said) from doing something such as blacklisting a site. It sucks, but the gaming press is in a much worse position today than it was 10 years ago, because of the rise of youtube personalities taking over, the ability to do social marketing in todays ever increasing socially connected population. As time goes on, the impact of a site like Kotaku is minimized even further, publishers dont have to rely as much to a site like that.

It sucks, but thats the reality of gaming press today. Why should a publisher go to a site who will scrutinize them when they can go to 10 different youtubers who will ask no questions about the unfethered access theyre being given? Its a conundrum.
 

Quote

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Im highlighting this part because well...I dont disagree with it but its a good point to rear my point with. 10 years ago the landscape was different-sites like IGN or gamespot or gamong magazines were integral to a publishers marketing. Vinny from GiantBomb talks how publishers would give a cold shoulder to gamespot when they badly reviewed a game but by the time a new game came out they were talking again. Because back then a big site was integral in marketing a game.

Im reiterating from a discussion had at GB, but now a days a publisher can socially market their game. They give access to fans and the fans will market it for them. They use Youtube personalities to market their game, and usually the youtube personalities will be positive about it. I think PewDiePie has talked about how hes been approached by publishers to play a game simply because of his huge exposure.

The landscape has changed. Ubisoft and Bethesda can afford to blacklist Kotaku, despite Kotaku being a huge site. And Kotaku will still run stories on Fallout or Assassins Creed, so its a net positive for the publishers, that they suffer little to no repercussion(except for the court of public opinion, like you said) from doing something such as blacklisting a site. It sucks, but the gaming press is in a much worse position today than it was 10 years ago, because of the rise of youtube personalities taking over, the ability to do social marketing in todays ever increasing socially connected population. As time goes on, the impact of a site like Kotaku is minimized even further, publishers dont have to rely as much to a site like that.

It sucks, but thats the reality of gaming press today. Why should a publisher go to a site who will scrutinize them when they can go to 10 different youtubers who will ask no questions about the unfethered access theyre being given? Its a conundrum.
As consumers, we should be worried about this and it's to our benefit that blacklists do not exist. YouTube personalities are such a young industry yet have been caught up in quite a few scandals already.
 

UKUMI0

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I see a lot of people comparing gaming journalism to movie/tv/entertainment journalism which I don't agree with.

With Entertainment, movies are normally announced a few years before where as with games its 6 months before (because of the number of games on a yearly release cycle).

Also with entertainment news, a lot of the leaks happen because of extras/open sets etc, which are not things we have in gaming as all the mocap is on closed sets, and there are no extras.

There are tons of others, but those are the main ones.

Comparing the two is not logical, at least when talking about leaks and the such.
 

DeepEnigma

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Im highlighting this part because well...I dont disagree with it but its a good point to rear my point with. 10 years ago the landscape was different-sites like IGN or gamespot or gamong magazines were integral to a publishers marketing. Vinny from GiantBomb talks how publishers would give a cold shoulder to gamespot when they badly reviewed a game but by the time a new game came out they were talking again. Because back then a big site was integral in marketing a game.

Im reiterating from a discussion had at GB, but now a days a publisher can socially market their game. They give access to fans and the fans will market it for them. They use Youtube personalities to market their game, and usually the youtube personalities will be positive about it. I think PewDiePie has talked about how hes been approached by publishers to play a game simply because of his huge exposure.

The landscape has changed. Ubisoft and Bethesda can afford to blacklist Kotaku, despite Kotaku being a huge site. And Kotaku will still run stories on Fallout or Assassins Creed, so its a net positive for the publishers, that they suffer little to no repercussion(except for the court of public opinion, like you said) from doing something such as blacklisting a site. It sucks, but the gaming press is in a much worse position today than it was 10 years ago, because of the rise of youtube personalities taking over, the ability to do social marketing in todays ever increasing socially connected population. As time goes on, the impact of a site like Kotaku is minimized even further, publishers dont have to rely as much to a site like that.

It sucks, but thats the reality of gaming press today. Why should a publisher go to a site who will scrutinize them when they can go to 10 different youtubers who will ask no questions about the unfethered access theyre being given? Its a conundrum.

As consumers, we should be worried about this and it's to our benefit that blacklists do not exist. YouTube personalities are such a young industry yet have been caught up in quite a few scandals already.

You got that right. Much easier to sway them, because they are usually under no contract by a corporation they work for. And they want as much fame and hits as they can get for that ad revenue. I remember some articles on this a few years ago, with publishers and console makers wanting to exploit those avenues.
 

Eusis

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Apr 15, 2011
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AFAIK, the only hostility Mojang ever received from gawkerNet was the accusation that their 2013 GDC booth babes were $300/hr P4P.

That was denied in a followup article.
To his credit all it takes is one PERSONAL bad experience, and something that we would have just found exasperating could be deeply embarrassing and/or a source of seemingly endless exasperation trying to explain it away to others that that wasn't the case at all.

It also IS a reminder of why so many are cynical about Kotaku, though I think a lot of it is either overblown or taking completely the wrong look at what the blacklisting is about.
 

DeepEnigma

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Dec 3, 2013
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I see a lot of people comparing gaming journalism to movie/tv/entertainment journalism which I don't agree with.

With Entertainment, movies are normally announced a few years before where as with games its 6 months before (because of the number of games on a yearly release cycle).

Also with entertainment news, a lot of the leaks happen because of extras/open sets etc, which are not things we have in gaming as all the mocap is on closed sets, and there are no extras.

There are tons of others, but those are the main ones.

Comparing the two is not logical, at least when talking about leaks and the such.

Can you elaborate? Because we hear about movies long before most games on average, or am I misunderstand what you mean?

Hell, with Suicide Squad, most wished it was traditional leaks, because WB went balls to the wall with info, and took most of the magic away, long before the movie comes out.
To his credit all it takes is one PERSONAL bad experience, and something that we would have just found exasperating could be deeply embarrassing and/or a source of seemingly endless exasperation trying to explain it away to others that that wasn't the case at all.

It also IS a reminder of why so many are cynical about Kotaku, though I think a lot of it is either overblown or taking completely the wrong look at what the blacklisting is about.

He has over 2 billion reasons why he should let it go, truthfully. :p

But in all seriousness do agree about a personal bad experience. It only takes a person to lie to me once, to make me question everything they ever said to me.

I just mean, that movies are announced, or at least found out ages before games, normally at a comic-con or something two or so years before.

I think this is because movie producers know that there will be leaks, so they want to get in front of it.

Holy crap, I misread it as a "few days" before, not years. Was that a stealth edit or am I going crazy here?

Because I will humbly accept crazy, lol!
 

UKUMI0

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Can you elaborate? Because we hear about movies long before most games on average, or am I misunderstand what you mean?

Hell, with Suicide Squad, most wished it was traditional leaks, because WB went balls to the wall with info, and took most of the magic away, long before the movie comes out.

I just mean, that movies are announced, or at least found out ages before games, normally at a comic-con or something two or so years before.

I think this is because movie producers know that there will be leaks, so they want to get in front of it.
 

APF

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Apr 13, 2005
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I see a lot of people comparing gaming journalism to movie/tv/entertainment journalism which I don't agree with.

With Entertainment, movies are normally announced a few years before where as with games its 6 months before (because of the number of games on a yearly release cycle).

Also with entertainment news, a lot of the leaks happen because of extras/open sets etc, which are not things we have in gaming as all the mocap is on closed sets, and there are no extras.

There are tons of others, but those are the main ones.

Comparing the two is not logical, at least when talking about leaks and the such.
However there are also similarities: for example both movies and games use actors, both movies and games have scripts, and both movies and games use computers. There are tons of others, but those are the main ones.
 

UKUMI0

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However there are also similarities: for example both movies and games use actors, both movies and games have scripts, and both movies and games use computers. There are tons of others, but those are the main ones.

What I mean is that you can't report on them in the same way, because its much easier to get information about movies before release then it is games.

The only way to get game news is via press releases, interviews or leaks.
 

APF

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What I mean is that you can't report on them in the same way, because its much easier to get information about movies before release then it is games.

The only way to get game news is via press releases, interviews or leaks.

I still don't get your point, it's easier to get info about movies before release because of the exact same means, only for some (not all) movies it's extended against a longer timeframe. And even then, so what? What does that have to do about anything?
 

Birgitte2004

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Dec 17, 2013
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As it pertains to the former, my biggest concern is when I see people offering sentiments like "Kotaku got what was coming; don't bite the hand that feeds you." And what bothers me is not that I think publishers don't have the right to assign preferences to various media outlets. But there's an implication at play here that I find uncomfortable: that the raison d'etre of the press in this hobby is basically to be marketing pawns for publishers. I've read more than a few posts in here that seem to almost insinuate that it's a moral violation to undermine marketing's master plan to generate maximum hype for their upcoming title. And this is just something that I cannot get behind.

Until such time as places like Kotaku are being blacklisted purely for posting things like bad reviews, this is not the issue, and I don't know why people keep trying to bring it into the conversation as if it were.

You can be as critical as you want about a company, not being part of their marketing department, without leaking things that will piss them off. The two are not the same thing.

The blacklist of Gamespot for daring to give Kane and Lynch a bad score? I'm wholly against the Publisher for that one.

The blacklist of Kotaku for getting basically irrelevant* information the company doesn't want out there but they leak it anyway? I have zero issue with the publisher doing that. And I don't know why others do based on a completely different kind of blacklist than what happened here. It's like people believe you can't support one without the other.

EDIT: I'm using the word irrelevant here in the context of it's not important in the grand scheme of things, it's not like Kotaku is revealing serious corruption in the industry by putting plot elements of Fallout 4 out there.
 

sonicmj1

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Dec 2, 2007
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AFAIK, the only hostility Mojang ever received from gawkerNet was the accusation that their 2013 GDC booth babes were $300/hr P4P.

That was denied in a followup article.

Kotaku building that story out of a bunch of Twitter rumors is actual tabloid journalism that, without stronger backing, serves to hurt people. I can understand why Notch would feel burned there, even after the "retraction" story that followed.

If a company feels like an outlet treats them in bad faith, twisting their words or producing scuttlebutt rumor, then it makes sense to blacklist them and limit the harm they can do. But cutting all media contact does absolutely nothing to stop internal leaks, so I don't see why it's worth the (admittedly small) harm in terms of narrowing how much coverage your game receives.

For reference again, Activision CEO Eric Hirschberg gave a talk about how they handled Kotaku's massive (bigger than either of the "blacklist-worthy" leaks) leak of information nine months in advance of Modern Warfare 3's launch.

Eric Hirschberg said:
Our fans didn't do anything wrong today. They're having a great day... The wrong way to deal with it is to let the process of figuring out what happened with the leak be the public-facing marketing message. That has to happen and that's important work, but that's not the dialogue you want to be having with your fans. You go into that silverback gorilla corporate lockdown mode, and it's not appealing, it's not fun. And our fans are like, "Hey, did you see this? Someone released some levels on Modern Warfare 3!

When news about blacklists comes out, it moves the dialogue away from your game. Why should your public-facing dialogue ever be about locking up information about games people are excited to learn about? You have the right to do that, but I don't see how it's a positive move.

By the way, Modern Warfare 3 broke the launch records that Black Ops had set the previous year, selling 6.5 million units in 24 hours.
 
Nov 7, 2007
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But no one is alleging Kotaku broke an NDA or obtained the information illegally (eg through outright theft, not via leaking), so the entirety of your point is moot.

If we assume that information regarding the development of a particular game is protected under NDAs (which is a very safe assumption to make,) then it's safe to say that someone broke an NDA in order to leak the information.

IP law is ugly and complicated, and I know this first hand. I worked for a company that was developing a new product. Information about this product was published and it cost us a competitive advantage. There were less than 200 people on the project and they were all under NDAs. Someone in our company obviously broke an NDA, and the journalist who printed the story had to have known that someone broke an NDA. (It's unreasonable to think otherwise.) We couldn't prove who broke the NDA, however. If we could, legal action could have been taken against both the employee who broke the NDA and the journalist who knowingly solicited the information that was protected by NDAs. Legal action wasn't possible, but it was clear to us that the journalist acted in bad faith so we cut her off. We were under no obligation to deal with people who we viewed as unethical. Make no mistake about it: It's not "good journalism" to reveal information that was obtained by unethical means.

Perhaps my personal experience are skewing my opinion on this issue. I'll take a step back here to give Kotaku the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they didn't break any NDAs and maybe they weren't aware that anyone else was breaking any NDAs by providing them with information. It's possible, right? It seems unlikely to me, but I'll admit that it's at least within the realm of possibility.

I've never been convinced that this issue was entirely about leaks in the first place. As many people have pointed out, leaks happen all the time. Gaming journalism is more-or-less built off of leaks, after all. Kotaku certainly isn't the only source to post leaked information over the years, so my initial point of contention still stands: There could be any number of reasons why Kotaku was blacklisted.
 

stupei

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Dec 6, 2008
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If simply knowing the full truth about a game and its development means that a consumer is less likely to want to buy that game, then doesn't that mean that what kotaku did is in the best interest of the consumer? Isn't that the priority, at least from our perspective as consumers? Shouldn't a developer not want to admit that simply saying true things about their game might lower the amount of money they make off of it?

Obviously publishers want to make the most money off their product that they can, but if the idea is that they would have made more if people were less informed then that sounds like money made by essentially tricking people and I'm not sure why some people are acting like that is the moral high ground.