from the baby-steps,-baby-steps,-baby-steps dept
Leaks happen. They just do. They’re unfortunate, they’re rarely complete products, and it’s understandable that a content producer would be less than thrilled about it. But they happen. Time and time again, we witness examples of content companies losing their minds over these leaks, whether it’s Ubisoft murdering their reputation by reacting to leaks with ineffective DRM, or Fox taking a long hard look at how the leaked version of Wolverine did nothing to stymie huge box office returns and therefore decided to get the FBI involved to arrest the leaker. It seems that when these leaks happen, the reaction is emotional rather than cognitive.
Enter Crytek, developer of the immensely anticipated Crysis 2 game. As was seemingly inevitable, Edge was among others that reported the game was leaked. And not just some early build of the game either, but rather both versions (the 3D version and the non-3D version) were made available via torrent sites. The download included the full games (requiring nearly a full blu-ray disk’s worth of storage for the 3D version), online capability, and even the DRM signing keys.
So, we all know what the reaction was coming from Crytek execs, right? Piracy killed them, left them bleeding in a gutter, the victim of a violent crime. The sky is falling. The action allowed a wormhole to open up and demons are now killing our women and children. Puppies everywhere keeled over dead. America has fallen to the terrorists/communists/atheists/robots/Satan/etc. Corn farmers everywhere are committing mass ritual suicide, knowing that they’ll never earn a livable wage. Right?
Turns out, not so much. Harken back to what Mike suggested about how Fox should have responded to the Wolverine leak:
“Hey Wolverine fans! We know that you’re all looking forward to the release of the movie next month. We’re excited too! By now you may have heard that an early totally unfinished version has been leaked online. It’s missing a whole bunch of stuff — including some amazing special effects — and honestly, this version isn’t a finished product at all. We think you’ll get a much better overall experience by waiting for the full finished product, but we certainly understand that some of you just can’t wait (trust us, we feel the same way!). If that’s the case, please, feel free to check it out, but please remember that this isn’t even close to the final version. If anything, think of this as a "behind-the-scenes" peek of just what a movie looks like before all the real "movie magic" gets put in there. If you do check it out, we hope you’ll join us May 1st to check out the finalized version as well on the big screen the way we intended for you to see this awesome movie. It’s just a month away!”
In this case, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli actually did make a similarly reasonable address to the company’s fans on the Crysis 2 forums:
“Despite this unfortunate incident, we can assure you that PC gaming is very important to us and will always be important to Crytek in the future. We are all still focused on delivering a great gaming experience to our true and honest fans. I hope you will enjoy Crysis 2 on PC, as we think it is our best PC game yet!”
Huh. You know what, that actually sounds eerily similar to Mike’s suggestion. Maybe not quite so optimistic and glowing, but pretty damn close. And I think this message is perfect. Tell the fans that, while you don’t approve of what happened, they’re still important to you, you’re going to create for their PC gaming needs, and even throw in a comment about rewarding their dedication as real, paying fans. Perfect. And judging by the response from the company’s fans in the comments section of the forum, his notes are ringing true with them.
So cheers to you, Cevat. You could have gone crazy and reacted emotionally, but you didn’t. You made a reasoned statement. While it’s sad that such level-headedness is rare enough to deserve note, I salute you nonetheless.