Day One: Garry’s Incident Devs Censoring TotalBiscuit’s Criticism
The developers of indie game Day One: Garry’s Incident have done the latter and opened themselves up to the Streisand Effect. Developer Wild Games Studio filed a copyright claim under the DMCA on a critical impressions video by popular YouTube personality TotalBiscuit and it’s all hit the fan.
TotalBiscuit’s video about Day One was under his “WTF Is” series of first impression critiques of newly released video games. According to TB, he requested a copy of the game to review as part of his WTF Is series and was sent a code to review the game by Wild Games Studio’s CEO Stephane Woods. He posted his review on YouTube and it was taken down by Wild Games Studio some days later using a copyright claim.
It’s not like Wild Games Studio has a problem with YouTube videos being made of their game. WGS founder and CEO Stephane Woods told a user on the Steam forums that posting videos on YouTube was fair game.
However, they have pulled TB’s review of the game. According to Woods on the Steam forums, “We protected our copyright because Total Biscuit has no right to make advertising revenues with our license.” The problem is that using copyrighted material for the purpose of criticism, like a TotalBiscuit WTF Is video, is considered allowable under US fair use laws. Therefore, TB should be able to monetize the video. Mind you, it’s not as if they shouldn’t have known this was coming if they had done about 30 seconds of due diligence work looking up TB.
Naturally, it’s not just TB that’s apparently being censored by Wild Games Studio. There is anecdotal evidence that the devs are censoring critical posts on the Steam forums for the game. However, they haven’t gone after other critical YouTube videos yet so I guess that would be the other side of this story. There have also been accusations of the devs posting fake Metacritic user reviews of the game.
I know that TotalBiscuit isn’t exactly a universally loved figure but he’s clearly not in the wrong. What WGS has essentially done is declared war on reviewers. Are they going to start going after written reviews of the game that are monetized? It’s the same principle. TB does video reviews. Most outlets do written reviews. Why should only print be allowed to profit from ads when the other isn’t. Or, in this case, just one man isn’t allowed to profit from his work.
Normally, I’m always in the corner of Canadian developers as they try to make it in the industry. Look at how many articles I do about Canadian indies looking for money on Kickstarter as an example. However, I’m not backing Wild Games Studio here. Censorship is wrong. This isn’t the first time I’ve said it nor is it likely to be the last.
If you don’t want to be criticized, don’t release a terrible game. It’s simple as that WGS. You released a game that the consensus says is buggy and unfinished. This game needs to be criticized so gamers don’t waste $20 of their money on an unfinished game. Is it worse that you feel it’s wrong for TotalBiscuit to criticize your game or that you think it’s alright to release a game in this state? I don’t think there needs to be a winner there.
Here’s TotalBiscuit’s response to this incident:
And here are a couple of other videos showing how terrible Day One: Garry’s Incident is.