What do you think of NDAs?
July 02, 2008

Recently, a moderator on Eurogamer ignored his non-disclosure agreement and posted on the forums to say that Too Human--a title he was only able to play because he signed a legally-binding NDA indicating that he would not discuss the game until a date sometime in the future--is the worst game he has played in the past five years.

There are a lot of regulars on that site who are praising him for doing the right thing and breaking the agreement. It got me wondering how some of you feel about the matter. Should non-disclosure agreements be honored? Do you think more of someone who breaks them to report exclusive news ahead of his competition? Less? Do non-disclosure agreements interfere with the free market system so many of us value?

I've made up my mind on the above points a long time ago (I'm fully in favor of NDAs being followed to the letter), but what do you think?

Most recent blog posts from Jason Venter...

Felix_Arabia Felix_Arabia - July 02, 2008 (07:26 AM)
It's called legal non-disclosure agreement for a reason. I have no admiration for someone who breaks that to post his impressions on a game. If Too Human is as bad as this tard says it is, well, who really cares? The reviews will pan it once it's released, and then all parties interested in the title can make their decisions from there. There's nothing valiant about breaking the law over a video game so you can give people a heads up. This guy didn't break his contract over something more sinister.
overdrive overdrive - July 02, 2008 (08:32 AM)
If I signed or agreed to an NDA, I'd be following it to the letter. I mean, if someone wants to risk their relations with a company just to bask in the admiration of random, faceless people on a message board, that's their business, but it doesn't seem like that bright of an idea to me.
shotgunnova shotgunnova - July 02, 2008 (11:22 AM)
I'm going to have to agree with sentiments already stated. It's binding for a reason, and shows the character/integrity of a person who flippantly ignores it. To me, whether or not he's doing it to get a leg-up on the competition or just to malign the game doesn't matter -- dude's a goofball for showing how professional he really is(n't).
honestgamer honestgamer - July 02, 2008 (12:41 PM)
I'm glad to see I'm not alone. What really annoys me is that people like this ruin it for the rest of us. Silicon Knights will think doubly hard in the future about who it allows to play its games in advance because of one guy's idiocy. He might think he did a great thing--and it's clear from his posts that he does--but he just set game journalists back in a big way when it comes to Silicon Knights (and possibly other companies watching the drama unfold).
Genj Genj - July 02, 2008 (02:18 PM)
I don't know how anyone could see this as the right thing to do. Wouldn't that suggest that being told to keep silent until a future date was somehow wrong of Silicon Knights? I don't know why but I'm sure there's a reason for why a company would want the press to wait (game is unfinished, prevent writers from rushing their work and not getting a full feel for the game, etc). It's doesn't seem like this is a situation where the company was trying to prevent bad press. It just sounds like one idiot breaking a contract to get his opinion out first.
Suskie Suskie - July 02, 2008 (05:19 PM)
In addition to agreeing with what's already been said, I have to wonder how this Eurogamer mod figured he'd benefit from it. Does being the first person to announce feedback on a game give you some sort of heightened status in the gaming community? My only guess is that this guy thought he was doing the right thing by warning the world not to spend money on Too Human. That doesn't effect me anyway, since I never go out and buy a game without checking the reviews first -- and they're usually up a few days before release anyway. If you rush out and buy Too Human on the first day without checking up on the reviews, and are then disappointed with the game's quality, that's your problem.

By the way, I question the logic of anyone who expects Too Human to be any good. I'm fairly sure the title was originally scheduled as a GameCube launch game, and when a game has been in development for two whole console generations, something is wrong. And the guys at Silicon Knights have redirected it, what, fifteen times now or something? And all reports of demo versions have been negative. My guess is that this so-called "trilogy" will pull an Advent Rising.
Genj Genj - July 02, 2008 (06:09 PM)
Actually Too Human was originally going to be a 4 disc PlayStation game. It's even older!
Suskie Suskie - July 02, 2008 (06:12 PM)
Wow, are you serious? Well, point further proven, then.
honestgamer honestgamer - July 02, 2008 (07:28 PM)
This person indicated that he was breaking NDA to save people from buying a horrible game that he wouldn't rate about 6/10 at the highest. Doesn't exactly seem like a noble thing to do.

The people that praised him for doing it had pre-orders in (which are refundable) and feel that Silicon Knights is trying to prevent the free market system from properly functioning... which makes me think that they have no idea what the free market system even is!

If a game publisher says to me "We're giving you an advanced copy but don't post a review until the day the game ships" (and usually they let you post the night before), I'm going to say "Thanks for the advance copy so I can better inform my readers." Then I'll wait to post until the approved date. I've followed embargo in the past with some RPGs, for example.

Some people just make me fear for mankind's future. Sometimes I wonder how people that stupid can even figure out how to get out of bed in the morning. The sad part is that they're walking the streets. There's no way to know that the next person you meet isn't secretly in favor of breaking NDAs!
jiggs jiggs - July 02, 2008 (09:51 PM)
even if the game is bad, he shouldn't break the agreement. that is just unethical. he was given a priveledge and he abused it.
bluberry bluberry - July 02, 2008 (11:02 PM)
fuck ethics, the guy signed a piece of paper that said he wouldn't and he did. or if he didn't then fuck the company for being so stupid to only make it a verbal agreement--but that's almost certainly not the case.
psychopenguin psychopenguin - July 03, 2008 (07:59 AM)
Could he get sued over this? I would think so and I hope he does.
Felix_Arabia Felix_Arabia - July 03, 2008 (08:38 AM)
It's very possible that not only the guy who broke his NDA, but also Eurogamer, could come under some type of burden.
honestgamer honestgamer - July 03, 2008 (11:50 AM)
It depends on the NDA. Some of them hold the individual who breaks the NDA responsible for any loss incurred. If he did indeed sign an NDA (as his post suggests and as seems likely), then he and the company through which he obtained the game could be held financially liable for any lost sales that Silicon Knights can prove (and I see at least two or three in that thread).
sashanan sashanan - July 03, 2008 (02:31 PM)
or if he didn't then fuck the company for being so stupid to only make it a verbal agreement--but that's almost certainly not the case.

I can't speak for the US, but in the Netherlands, a verbal agreement is legally binding.
bluberry bluberry - July 03, 2008 (03:39 PM)
true, but it can't be the only thing you have. he said/she said doesn't work.
darketernal darketernal - July 03, 2008 (04:04 PM)
I don't see the reason except for some sort of "personal glory" to post this and break the agreement. And if one needs to extend his e-penis in such a way, it is worrying to say at the very least.

Naturally, even under agreement I would have a hard time not telling Emp on Aim that the game sucks/rocks. And he would of course leak it everywhere else.

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