January 15, 2010

The game companies just don’t get it

Sometimes I stumble over things that just amazes me so much I have to vent. Like this thing with the game companies, which are, in what I only can see as a sign of stupidity, making YouTube remove their trailers because of copyright infringement. The latest one in the row to do that is Activision, but others (such as Ubisoft for example) have been enforcing their right to do so as well, or in other ways limited the video to non-embeddable or just viewable from the US, and so on.

The background is this. I’m running a Swedish game blog called Spelbloggen, which in turn has a YouTube channel where we upload trailers. These trailers are supplied by the game companies for us to share with our readers.

The trailers can be viewed on YouTube, are always linked from our Twitter account, and at times embedded on the site. We went with YouTube for our video hosting, rather than sorting it out ourselves (which we could have just as well), because that means that our site will work perfectly well on an iPhone. Also, with the support for HD video, YouTube is a decent enough solution for this.

That will have to change, with threats like this being made:

The video has obviously been removed by YouTube, which is in within their rights. Consequently, the scheduled post on Spelbloggen have also been removed since it now contains no video. And frankly, that’s as much of a loss for Activision as it is for our readers, because this means we won’t show their trailer.

See how stupid this is? You feed the press with material, then you make sure they can’t use it. What’s even more ridiculous is that this would not have been an issue if we hosted our videos ourselves, no one would’ve complained since the whole idea is to get the video out there, this is just some stupid filter put on YouTube by Activision (in this case, mind you) unwittingly.

Stupid.

As for Spelbloggen, we’ll continue to use YouTube since that is the easiest solution to get videos to work on an iPhone. However it will probably not be a viable solution in the long run, since we’ve got content relying on embedded video and we could theoretically get our account removed, along with all the videos in it. That would perhaps not be devastating, but annoying and force us to go through a lot of work moving the videos to a new solution.

Right now I don’t care too much about not showing the Transformers: War for Cybertron trailer. In fact, we’ll even tell our readers why we don’t show it. They deserve to know a little bit about how the game companies that get their hard earned dough works.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.