BioWare & Friends

If you’re a reader of BioBreak, you’ve probably seen Syp’s latest update about some happenings between BioWare and its fansites. Obviously, as a blogger myself, and as a participating member of the new blog/media conundrum, I find it to be of interest how BioWare is handling this. From the revision that Syp provided after speaking with BioWare, it seems that the limitation won’t be so much in the form of interaction, but in official sponsoring. If you’re familiar with Warhammer, you’ll remember that every so often, Andy would do a blogger role-call, linking out people who wrote blogs primarily about WAR. It was a great honor to be chosen to be on those lists, and a great way for the game to show love to it’s blogging community (something Mythic always excelled at).  Those type of actions, or even participation in similar promotional events, will likely NOT be happening. No holocrons with symbols as part of a decipher puzzle will be included if you have adds on your blog.

I don’t have a personal problem with this, on the surface at least. For me, blogging isn’t about recognition from others, even when it’s the industry that does the recognizing (which is awesome). It’s about cataloguing my thoughts, outlooks, and activities. For me, this blog is part journal, part discussion room. So, even if I was one of the SW:TOR bloggers, I don’t know how put off I would be by this.

Digging below the surface, and taking off the gloves a bit, I really have to admit that when reading Syp’s article – the VERY first thing that popped into my head was “Lucas Arts IP strangle-hold reaches beyond EA”. Anyone who followed WAR from early conception, to live, and beyond can probably glean that Games Workshop provided some difficulties to development. As great as they are as a company to work with, they do have stringent IP concerns and are as unabashedly picky about protecting those ideas as Lucas is about his. Lucas may be worse. Honestly, it’s a tie – they’re both obsessed with it. That’s okay, it’s their work, their creation, their worlds, they can do what they want. 

Situations like this make me more and more convinced, than I ever was before, that existing IPs just may not be the way to go with any new games. The return seems to be a headache and a hassle for a moderate boost in sales  and customer base. I’m beginning to form an opinion that obstacles that block the creative process of game creation/design just aren’t worth the hassle, and that it’s better to create a world that fits your game, or a game that fits your world – depending on your plan.

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About Shadow
Making serious business out of internet spaceships.

3 Responses to BioWare & Friends

  1. silvertemplar says:

    Amen to the IP thoughts. Ever since WAR and Star Trek Online, i am also beginning to wonder “is it really worth it” ? Look at those games, despite their IP they’re dying . I believe if it’s a -good game- no matter the IP, players will flock to it.

    Hell even Blizzard who’s basically living on their own IP have a tendency to “break free” from it and just do what is “good for the game” , rather than “what is good for the IP” . I’d almost say that is one of the most single most important factors in Blizzard development, they created their own IP, they mold it themselves to fit the world/game…not the other way around.

  2. Mr. Meh says:

    I was going to reply on BioBreak’s comments, but realized that I was never a commenter only a reader before, so my opinion on the matter to the auther probably won’t mean much to Syp. But now since you wrote something…. 😀

    The way that I see BioWare’s statement(s) is actually pretty casually decent of them. I mean let’s look at Curse.com and Games-Workshop. Curse had provided the main forum for WAR since, what 2005? maybe it was 2006, either way, provided that forum. Despite, the fact that Mythic knew that Curse was a money making company that provided services for Mod downloads, they never once gave a friendly nodge about royalties or liabilities.

    Here’s BioWare, going, “hey guys, just incase you can’t read or don’t understand basic IP rights. We only give you permission to do non-profit making fankit type stuff. You don’t have permission to make money based on what we gave you.”

    Basically, “Hey, it would really suck if Lucas Arts showes up on your doorway with a lawsuit 4 years from now. Maybe we should give an informal warning, just incase some people have the opportunity to sell something or think they are harmlessly making a couple bucks. Or worse, you have your fansite linked with a company making money possibly directly or indirectly enough to be seen as direct.”

    It’s definitely more than Curse got. Who setup basically the prime forum, news and guide center for WAR on Mythic’s behalf, only to have Games-Workshop showing up 5 years later going “Hey, we don’t have a rights agreement, you owe me royalties bitch. Hey, don’t ignoring me. KK, lawsuit.”

    I’m a blogger on a free service with no intentions of making money off my bleak comments. And I don’t think any other blogger or reviewer should be scared as though they maybe a great deal more elegant in their rambles, they probably aren’t making money. Now, if suddenly you have this idea that your going to make money by setting up a paid service for something related to their product, then yeah, maybe you need a littel reminder about IP, Royalties and Right Agreements.

    I’d imagine, that the GW Curse issue was not one that Mythic/EA felt great about. I bet EA put a little nodge on BioWare law department and said, “let’s try to avoid any possible misunderstanding this go, guys.”

    Just my take. I see it as a positive move. But then again, I don’t sell banners on my blog.

    • Shadow says:

      As far as the BioWare aspect, I don’t disagree at all. BioWare is being upfront about the situation to people who may not be completely clear on it, but without a doubt, it is only insinuated by the reality of LucasArts being tyrants in regard to their IP and anyone else making any income off it. So, agreed, BioWare is being proactive about this, and I wasn’t trying to come off as insinuating BW as being the bad guy here. If it was to fall on anyone it would be the lawyers at LucasArts.

      As for the Curse – GW – Mythic thing, Curse dropped the ball on that entirely when they aquired it from Garthilk (not that GW is any less culpable for being heavy-handed control freaks). Garthilk had an agreement with Games Workshop, and a disclaimer on the site as a result. When Curse purchased the domain, they should have realized that agreements between former owners are not transferable, ESPECIALLY since the goal of the site changed from being a community site that may have had some adds to help recuperate costs to being a part of an entire mult-game portfolio under the control of a for-profit company. Curse screwed up, GW was over-reacting. I’m sure you’re right though, I imagine the collective groans of dismay when the people at Mythic heard about the lawsuit. Even though it was clear that they had pulled away from the site for the most part, it is/was still a huge fan gathering.

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