Time for another slice of bullshit from the big budget games industry, served steaming for your tasty pleasures.
On today’s edition, Electronic Arts admitted to gimping Star Wars Battlefront, Family Guy did a naughty thing, and Nintendo’s overreaching ContentID policy has seen it seize ad revenue it had absolutely no right to.
Oh what fun. What giddy, giddy fun!
Star Wars Battlefront Was Undercooked By Design
Star Wars Battlefront was a promising game severely held back by a lack of content. While its foundation was rock solid, it was missing key features familiar to fans of the series, most notably a narrative campaign.
At the time, Electronic Arts had its excuses for focusing solely on multiplayer gameplay, with Peter Moore saying barely anybody plays single-player campaigns. It was obvious bullshit, not just because it’s blatantly untrue, but because Peter Moore was saying it.
We all knew it was crap, and EA has just recently confirmed it to be true.
Speaking to investors – typically the only people publishers consider worthy of the truth – EA’s Patrick Soderlund confessed to rushing Battlefront in order to launch alongside Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The game’s relative lack of features was a direct result of this expedited development process.
“We made [the choice] due to time and being able to launch the game side-by-side with the movie that came out to get the strongest possible impact,” he said when discussing the game’s missing campaign.
The lack of content had an impact on the game’s critical reception – Battlefront 2015‘s Metacritic score sits lower than any other release in the series – and Soderlund was forced to spin his way out of it.
“I think the team created a really good game based on the premise that we had,” he claimed. “I would say the game has done very well for us and reached a very different demographic than a traditional EA game.
“So from that perspective, it’s a success. Are we happy with the 75 rating? No. Is that something we’re going to cure going forward? Absolutely.”
The best long-term cure, of course, would be for Electronic Arts to stop being a big pile of wank, but I don’t see that miracle happening anytime soon. Instead, we can take solace from the fact EA’s learned a valuable lesson in sacrificing quality and credibility for a quick cash-in.
It’s a lesson EA seems to keep needing a refresher course in, and I hope one day it’ll actually fucking stick.
Nintendo’s Copyright Claiming Minecraft Videos
A Super Mario Mashup Pack for the Wii U version of Minecraft has seen a number of YouTubers hit with copyright claims thanks to Nintendo’s disgusting ContentID practices. This is despite assurances from Minecraft port handler 4J Studios that such a situation would not arise.
Minecraft benefitted immensely from YouTube, and has always been a game could content creators could count upon safely uploading without bullshit copyright claims. Nintendo, being Nintendo, has ruined that goodwill by claiming ownership of videos showing off the Mashup Pack – the DLC’s sound effects undoubtedly triggering ContentID’s automated claim bots.
4J Studios, to its credit, is doing what it can to make good on its word, and promises Nintendo will resolve the issue.
Nevertheless, this is a perfect demonstration of Nintendo’s utterly clueless and overreaching behavior when it comes to YouTube. The company’s overly protective measures are akin to an immune system with allergies, flagrantly overstepping its bounds and disrespecting fair use by seizing the ad revenue of videos containing even a tiny fraction of Nintendo game footage.
Nintendo clearly had to know this would happen and did nothing to stop it, resulting in lost revenue from video uploaders who were promised incident-free Minecraft coverage. As far as I’m concerned, the publisher’s ignorance is tantamount to stealing – it’s claimed ownership over a game it literally does not own, and financially fucked with people it has literally no right to fuck with.
The fact there’s absolutely no penalty for doing so should be thoroughly galling. Situations like this should at least result in limitations on Nintendo’s ContentID privileges, but instead the company will be free to continue pissing all over fair use and running roughshod over Let’s Players, reviewers, and entertainers alike, with no regard for context or existing copyright law.
And of course, ContentID itself is once again shown to be an imbecilic sledgehammer wielded by vulgar thugs.
At the time of publication, this issue appears to remain unresolved.
FOX Steals Footage Then Fucks Over The Owner
As if YouTube’s copyright messes weren’t gross enough, we move on from Nintendo and onto FOX. Though the issue has now been sorted out, the media empire’s actions were nothing short of shocking.
This week’s episode of Family Guy used game footage from a 2009 YouTube video, seemingly without permission.
The video in question -uploaded by a user named sw1tched – highlights in a glitch in Double Dribble that allows the player to obtain a three-point goal. There’s a case to be made for Family Guy invoking fair use itself for the clip, but there’s absolutely no excuse for FOX’s next move – issuing a copyright takedown strike against the original.
Yep, after merrily using a video it didn’t own, FOX told YouTube it did own the video and exploited the site’s DMCA-like takedown system to have the 2009 upload removed.
Because of course, that’s a very reasonable thing to do.
Bots have been blamed for the untenable takedown strike, but if that’s the case, FOX needs to have a serious cocking think about how fair it is to put DMCA takedowns – something that has a very real impact on a channel and can actually result in somebody losing their livelihood – in the hands of programs with no sense of nuance, restraint, or legality.
I was always under the impression that takedown strikes needed to be manually filed with some actual human oversight, while it was only ContentID that could be handled by robotic claimants. I guess it was silly of me to assume that YouTube would enforce some level of responsibility among its corporate chums, so I’ll take that on the chin as a learning point.
Sw1tched, for their part, is just happy to have the video back and has remained classy throughout the problem.
“Well, after much confusion and Internet buzz around the web it seems I got my video back without even doing anything,” they said in a comment on the video. “I really appreciate that because all I wanted was my video… nothing more.”
At the time of publication, there are no rules that allow sw1tched to instantly remove this week’s Family Guy from circulation unchallenged, even though that’d only be fair.