Atari Sues Websites Over Pre-Release Reviews Of Games

from the what's-illegal-here? dept

Slashdot points us to the news that Atari has started suing various websites that posted reviews of new games prior to the release date of the games. The reviews are negative, but the real problem, according to Atari, is that there was a press embargo on reviewing the games, and if someone has a copy of the game prior to the embargo and hasn't agreed to the embargo, then it's clear that they pirated the game. At least one site has explained that it purchased the game legally from a retail source who mistakenly sold the game before the release date -- which would suggest the problem is with the retailer, not the reviewer. No matter what, the whole thing seems ridiculous. Suing those who review your games (even if the reviews are not good or if the reviews come out early) is a sure way to make sure many sites refuse to review anything you do again.
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Filed Under: pre-release, reviews, takedowns, video games
Companies: atari


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  1. identicon
    JR, 24 Jun 2008 @ 10:48am

    From Atari's point of view??

    Please understand that I am playing Devil's Advocate here. This opinion may or may not represent my own views.
    ----------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------- --

    Atari has been around for a long time, they've done this a time or two. Any pre-release media previews or demos (hands-on or not) would have been accompanied by an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). This is a contract and violation of the agreement is subject to prosecution.

    Even if not specifically under an NDA, the independent review site, regardless of how they acquired the software, had to know the game at issue was not yet released for public retail. If they were not, then they don't do a very good job at what they do. If they were, as they should have been, then are they not obligated at some level, as responsible journalist, to inform Atari of problems with their supplier chain? Who am I kidding, there is no responsibility in journalism anymore. Oh...different rant..sorry. No, instead they did what you or I would probably do "Got it first!!". Ok, it happens, but Atari was denied this information.

    If, as the site claims, they acquired the software thru legal and public means, then Atari has the right and obligation to find out where and who their supplier problems are. You can not deny that media types are quick to protect the anonymity of their sources, in which case Atari has little choice but to sue in order to discover where the problems are.

    If, on the other hand, the site acquired the software on sly, be it piracy or some under-the-table or other type of deal, then clearly the site in question is in the wrong, and again Atari is obligated to protect its interests and uncover the wrongdoing.

    Clearly these are but a couple of points of many from Atari's point of view. Add to that the fact that a premature early negative "official review", be it true or not, will taint the title, potentially skew future review opinions, and kill sales, very likely costing Atari any chance of at lest recouping development costs from release week sales.

    Atari was put in a situation with few, if any, other options.

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