from the oopsie dept
It was only a few months back that Amazon released its MMO game New World. While there was a bunch of hype around the game, it was met critically with mostly a collective “meh”. While the lack of exuberant reviews focused mostly on bland gameplay that doesn’t survive its honeymoon period, there were also bugs. So, so many bugs. So many bugs, in fact, that both gamer media covered them in detail and entire Reddit threads were created to discuss them.
This isn’t unique to New World, of course. With the unfortunate industry trend of releasing a game first and then day 1 patching most of the problems out of it afterwards, there are a ton of these stories. But what makes this one different is that a YouTuber created a video about one of the bugs and then alerted Amazon to it so that they could fix it, only to have Amazon issue a copyright strike against his channel.
New World YouTuber Video Game DataBank reported on Sunday that Amazon Games slapped his channel with a permanent copyright strike over his video reporting a bug, attempting to deplatform the creator instead of addressing the issue. According to the YouTuber, he found a bug where if you gain 3 full aptitude levels all at once while crafting, it won’t give you XP beyond that. As a result, this bug could cost players a large sum of money when they attempt to gain crafting levels. Video Game DataBank ended up making and sending a video of the bug to Amazon Games support to help them identify the problem, after which he reports they manually copyright struck his video, going out of their way to punish him for reporting the issue in their game.
Now, it’s important as we follow the plot here to note that there have been a ton of stories coming from New World players about how contacting support, when these game bugs result in issues for players, results instead in those players being banned from the game or otherwise being treated poorly. In other words, this copyright strike action is not happening in a vacuum.
“All those horror stories with Amazon Game support, are 100% accurate, is my assumption at this point,” Video Game Databank concluded. “People said they contacted Amazon Game support and the next day they got banned, and things like that, I 100% believe it now. . . I was unsure before, but I absolutely believe the majority of those players now. Because that is my experience as well, that Amazon Games support does not have your best interest in mind in the majority of cases.”
Whether you choose to believe those anecdotal stories is entirely up to you. But, again, this is a matter of timing, as we’ll get into in a second. Bug is discovered, YouTuber makes video about bug, YouTuber contacts Amazon support about bug and video, video gets a copyright strike. Whatever you think, you can certainly forgive the YouTuber for thinking all of those plot points are related.
According to Amazon, however, they are not. Instead, this was one big whoopsie. The company apologized for the copyright strike, which it also rescinded, and claimed that whoever issued the manual strike was actually trying to strike a video for selling in-game currency.
“The team has been investigating this incident and working directly with the content creator involved to resolve this issue. The intended target for the strike was an advertisement on YouTube for a gold selling website.
“By mistake, the video was reported instead,” continues the statement from Amazon. “We have since removed the strike and the video is live again. We will revise our internal processes to ensure this issue does not impact other folks in the future. We apologise for this poor experience and any concerns it created.”
I have to say that this explanation is possible but hard to believe. The timing is too coincidental for this to all make perfect sense. Instead, this reads more like the company got caught with its hand in the censorship cookie jar and is now trying to explain it all away.
But even if that’s not the case and this all was some big unhappy accident, it’s an indictment of how Amazon is enforcing its copyrights on streaming platforms like YouTube. Given what a monumentally shitty job Amazon’s competing Twitch service has done as well, ineptitude is also not entirely off the table. But it should be, as far as what what the public should be willing to accept when it comes to how Amazon is doing its business.
And, as always, content moderation and copyright enforcement at scale is impossible to do well and will always, always suck. Forever and ever. Amen.