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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » NDA What's the Point?

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56 posts found

Elite Member

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Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

3/15/13 8:42:37 AM#41
Originally posted by SlickShoes

I worked on GTA San Andreas...

My brother and I thank you for many, many hours of wonderful entertainment. :)


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The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

3/15/13 8:45:57 AM#42

I don't even know why game companies bother with an NDA now.  Heck 90% of the time you can find info leaked by individuals on youtube,  and then you have gaming site thatpost all kinds of stuff about it, and when folks comment they get nailed for breaking the nda.  

I just think the nda is a hype tool now anyways, and usually by the time you are in beta, you are just about ready to push out the game anyways.



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3/15/13 8:48:26 AM#43
Originally posted by atuerstar

The NDA bound experiences I have had lead me to one conclusion.


The game is bad. They want to be absolutely positive these testers cannot initiate negative advertising and affect sales by leaking the truth.

Couldn't agree more. NDA is noting but a bunch of nonsense. If devs can't atleast give players a polished experience perhaps they aren't fit to make mmos.



Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 14670

3/15/13 9:21:10 AM#44
Originally posted by Rednecksith
Originally posted by Mtibbs1989
Originally posted by Rednecksith

NDAs exist to prevent bad press about game features which may not be complete / functioning properly at the time of the beta. There's nothing wrong with them, and I support their use and enforcement because misinformation can be incredibly damaging. Especially when you consider that features maligned during alpha / beta test might actually be working as advertised at release.

That being said, any publisher / developer which engages in the practice of review embargoes is to be treated with contempt and scorn, and any website / publication which agrees to abide by them is to be treated with much the same. For those not in the know, review embargoes are the practice of a publisher forbidding a gaming review site / magazine from publishing a review until the game's official release day, despite the fact that said game has actually been sent out by the publisher to be reviewed weeks ahead of time. Essentially, it prevents reviewers from warning folks ahead of time that a game might suck, in order to maximize the profit of developers & publishers off of preorders for a product which they damn well know won't sell well once official reviews denouncing it as crap begin to circulate.

I understand that review sites make money by playing sucky-sucky with game publishers, but being willing to openly deceive and / or mislead people (due to misinformation or lies by omission) into purchasing products which would generally be considered universally inferior in order to justify their own existence is just disgusting.

Bottom line is, don't trust publishers which issue review embargoes, and certainly don't trust review sites which enforce them.

Sorry if this has been touched on earlier, or if this is redundant information within the thread. I honestly was too lazy to read the majority of it. I'm just rambling on my opinions pertaining loosely to the subject matter based upon my recent experiences in getting screwed out of valuable money due to the aforementioned practices.


 I can understand that bad press is bad press. However, NDA's are usually used for early stages of developement so by the time the NDA is released which is around closed/open beta the product will be exposed to a lot of press regardless of good or bad. Which will essentially rule out any usefulness of the NDA. If you're going to use an NDA maintain it unless the product is released to avoid the negative press.

I understand that. What I mean to say is that I believe that an NDA actually has a legitimate use, unlike a review embargo which is used purely for malicious / dishonest means.

As a recent purchaser of Aliens: Colonial Marines (a game under embargo), I do have quite a bit of bias in that respect however, so as always take what I say with a few industrial-sized bags of salt.

To the contrary, review embargoes make a lot of sense, for the reasons I laid out earlier:  let the reviewers take their time and get things right rather than rushing to be the first one to say anything, even though your first impressions are likely wrong.  If you buy a game before the review embargo ends and it ends up being terrible, it's your own fault.

Well, I'm assuming that the embargo ends by launch day.  If the game has launched and there is still an NDA up, then something is wrong.


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3/15/13 9:21:58 AM#45
Originally posted by Aerowyn
Originally posted by atuerstar

The NDA bound experiences I have had lead me to one conclusion.


The game is bad. They want to be absolutely positive these testers cannot initiate negative advertising and affect sales by leaking the truth.

I have alpha tested numerous games and everyone had NDA... actually can't think of really any MMO that didn't have NDA for alpha.. 

And that makes perfect sense really, starts getting a bit ridiculous as the game progresses through various press reviews, convention and increasingly larger open betas and yet they still hold the NDA, sometimes right up to a week or two before launch.

Take DF:UW for example, supposedly was nearly "launch ready" back in November and I think the NDA is still up to this date.  Classic example of NDA abuse IMO, especially since they started taking people's  money to get into the "beta"


In my day MMORPG's were sooooo hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow....uphill both ways.
Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
"This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon



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Posts: 14670

3/15/13 9:27:52 AM#46
Originally posted by BMBender
Originally posted by Quizzical

There are a variety of different reasons for an NDA.  One is that you don't want employees leaking critical trade secrets to your competitors.



I have a slight problem with this concept and I always have.  It made sense back in the UO/JG/EQ days when 3 guys in a garage could pump out a mmo in a couple yrs or so.  But these days mmos and the systems within them are so huge and bloated.  Any "trade" secret will long cease to be relevant by the time another company/group is able to implement it.  Or it becomes an "industry standard".  So no thats no longer a valid argument for an NDA. 


It's p[urely about information throttling these days, however as we saw with SWTOR; it is a two edged sword if the product gets over hyped without "real"info available to consumers.

It depends some on exactly which industry you're talking about.  Think of how AMD was able to keep word about Eyefinity from leaking out ahead of the Radeon HD 5000 series launch long enough not merely to keep Nvidia from implementing a competing technology in their Fermi cards, but to keep Nvidia from being able to entirely match AMD's functionality two years later in their Kepler cards.  That gave AMD an extended period of time in which they could say, "We can do this and Nvidia can't."  If someone had told Nvidia what AMD was working on the day AMD started, Nvidia could readily have matched the functionality shortly after AMD's cards launched.

Even within MMORPGs, it's one thing to say that you're going to have such and such feature, and it's entirely another to offer great detail on how you're going to implement it.  Once a game is out and anyone can play it, lots of people can mess with it and figure out a lot of details of how it is implemented.  That makes it much easier for a competitor to copy it than merely having a high-level description of "it works kind of like this".



Joined: 3/03/12
Posts: 8382

3/15/13 9:36:17 AM#47

To hide a week mmorpg until we buy it.


If you game is good and has longevity, tell it to the world. If it's a 3 month game, NDA up till launch.
J.O.B. Daggerfalls BEST Gank Crew


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3/15/13 10:21:27 AM#48
NDAs are very serious things especially near the beginning of the process.  We are not talking the toy betas here where people get in for pre-ordering or being person 750 on a site like this one in the giveaways section.  If you get in 6 months to 18 months before a game is released then the NDA protects the game from having features that may or may not be there or work the same way at launch ending up revealed and/or secrets about the game that other games may copy before they end up released.

Novice Member

Joined: 7/15/11
Posts: 148

3/15/13 10:23:47 AM#49
Fun thing about NDA's, unless you can account for every single tester, and these testers are coming into your offices every day, there is no way to enforce them.

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3/15/13 10:28:48 AM#50
I understand NDA's for employees, I've had to sign them myself.  They have an intimate knowledge of the product being developed.  But once it leaves the office borders and gets into the hands of John Q Beta Tester then all bets are off.  It's foolishly naive to think they aren't going to talk.  "Three may keep a secret if two are dead".

“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.”
-- Herman Melville


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3/15/13 11:09:29 AM#51
The NDA is there not to ruin public opinion of the game due to bugs, experimental features, unfinisheed gameplay or graphics, lag, etc.

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
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3/15/13 11:20:51 AM#52

NDA's are holdovers from ye olden dayes, when companies actually wanted beta testers.

Which are you more cynically disappointed in? The players doing the free preview ride, or the company offering betas for the free viral marketing "Ya'll remember, don't talk about this now" (snickersnicker)?

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.


Elite Member

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3/15/13 11:31:12 AM#53
Originally posted by Mtibbs1989


 Why do I bring this up? 


 Well, when it comes to gaming and especially the MMO circuit key features and gameplay can make or break the worthiness of a game. Whether it be network connectivity, PvP features, PvE features, or overall game-killing bugs. These things need to properly be discussed. If you're not able to properly discuss key features with people who are interested in the game how can you properly come up with fixes or improvements?

 Now, lets talk in the realm of reality and look at it from a consumer standpointWe all know it's suppose to be a legal contract that a person is not able to discuss any key features about the game whether it be the seamless world vs. heavily zoned or if it's another feature that might be a game-killer; you're not allowed to discuss it with anyone outside the guidelines of the contract. However, we can thoroughly say this information is still leaked regardless of the NDA contract.

It's more an issue for  the game company.

If they really want to keep things as quiet as they can then these open betas are not the way to do it. Heck, a "closed beta" isn't even the way to do it if it's opened to anyone to submit and test.

They should know this.

Secondly, I look, at it as "you are as good as your word". They say "we would like testers to test but we don't want people to discuss things outside the testing enviroment as we would like to address these issues withotut having to do needless damage control. We only want testers who can do this. Can you do this?

And you say yes or no. If you can't do it then don't do it. Simple as that. But some testers just can't keep it in their pants. So the onus is on the game company.

Either get professional Q&A people or live with the consequences of leaks.

As far as the testers go, you can and should discuss things on the "Beta Tester Forums".


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Posts: 3710

3/15/13 12:58:59 PM#54
The NDA used to be honored much more but that was in the days before they started charging for beta......I think once people start paying the feel entitled to talk.
  User Deleted
3/15/13 1:08:15 PM#55
As a beta tester I respect the NDA and the company that made the game so please don't sign up for the beta if you are questioning the people about "NDA What's the Point?".

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/20/12
Posts: 9

3/15/13 8:52:49 PM#56

(where is my formatting? o_O) Jesus christ, and I thought I was paranoid.

The crazed amount of ignorance on the subject being some kind of scheme is mindblowing.
Are you all saying both Everquests, Original WoW, and plenty of other games are completely bad? Or do you just not know that an NDA was used for company privacy, for creative wiggle room for developers, and to increase a games tester base without letting things get out of hand?

What do you think in house QA testers have to do?

Its threads like these that highlight how batshit insane the mmo community can be. I CANT TALK TO MY FRIENDS ONLINE OR POST SCREENSHOTS AND VIDEOS TO YOUTUBE???!! WAHHH. Come on, life existed before mass media.

And besides, if someone working on a project stops and asks, 'hey, can you come take a look at this without telling people about it for now?' you'd seriously have that hard of a time being respectful? I write, draw, and paint, and if a friend or a loose associate ran off after taking a picture while I wasn't even halfway through my work to know it is going to change, you can bet I'd be pissed, and someone would have some shit to deal with.

The point is to keep private until a PUBLIC showing, unless there is some part of the agreement that says 'you can't talk about THIS BIG PART' but can trickle out a controlled view and perspective with their approval.

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