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DragonKnight

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Extended NDA: How Gamers Are Punished For No Reason

Now that Microsoft and Sony are so close to releasing their next console iterations into the wild, we've all seen the stories of a few lucky gamers receiving their Xbox One consoles weeks in advance of the launch date.

Since the beginning of the existence of the gaming industry, we as gamers have always loved to show off the consoles and games we have, especially when they are brand new. It should come to no surprise then that a gamer would post everything they could about a new console (that's not even for sale yet) all over the internet. This is partly to show off, and partly to inform; it also has the added benefit of being free advertisement. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't see it that way and decided to hand the gamer a nice, albeit temporary, console ban for online play. Why take such harsh and drastic measures you might ask? Because the gamer posted information about the console that Microsoft did not want divulged to the public.

Many will make the case that upon agreeing to the Terms of Service, you agree to the condition of NOT posting content online without Microsoft's expressed permission, however there are inherent flaws in that logic. For starters, EULA's and ToS' are rarely enforceable in law due to the fact that they are either far too general in their terminology without any specifics mentioned (which is the case with the Xbox One's ToS), or any aspect of the ToS is deliberately anti-consumer rights and therefore illegal.

Microsoft's ToS for the Xbox One does state that Accepting the Terms means you accept that Microsoft can withhold service or access to the console if you post content online without their permission. The problem is is that it doesn't define what content specifically, or any kind of timeline (which is important to consider for AFTER the console launches), and thus could literally mean any kind of content. Fair Use laws however grant an individual the right to post copyrighted material for the purposes of review, critique, or parody. It could be argued that any users posting early footage/pics of Xbox One content are doing so for public review and critique.

Microsoft seems to think that gamers are bound by the kinds of non-disclosure agreements that developers, publishers, and the gaming media are bound by and they couldn't be more incorrect. No gamer who received their console early ever signed an NDA, nor were terms for such a thing made clear and visible for the gamer to agree to. A ToS is not and NDA, and consumer rights grant any consumer the right to full access and use of a product he/she paid for in full. We're not talking about misuse of licensed software, we're talking about banning a gamer from using half the console he paid for in full because he posted some pictures.

Just because Microsoft weren't ready for certain details to be revealed to the world (and one must wonder what exactly they need to reveal in 2 weeks), doesn't mean that that's the gamer's problem. None of us ever sign an NDA as consumers, and NDA's are contracts that have very specific terminology and rules which must be understood fully before being signed under law.

This is a trend that needs to stop. Microsoft and any other company that prevents the use of a product, and yes it is a product not a service, that was paid for in full are completely in the wrong and could be said to be doing something that is technically illegal.

Punishing gamers for free advertising is a problem that exists in many areas of the gaming industry. Microsoft's issue is with Target, not the gamer who benefited from Target's incompetence. Although the issue with the gamer that posted pics online has been resolved, the mere fact that Microsoft are so swift and arbitrary with banning people is disturbing. It's a tactic they've used several times in the Past and looks to be one that will continue in the Future.

Every day, gamers are being punished more and more just for being gamers and acting the way we all used to back in the old school days. Gamers are being restricted and punished so that corporations can honour their agreements with other corporations. None of us agreed to the terms of a partnership that Microsoft has with any third party source, therefore we are not bound by the terms of those agreements.

It seems like every day, more and more excuses to punish or restrict gamers are invented. It's almost as though being a gamer, in the eyes of corporations, is the wrong demographic to be in and needs to be quashed immediately in favour of drones of the mainstream, pro-corporate, mass consumption variety. We, as gamers, are shown that what we want is wrong, what corporate wants is right, and that really needs to stop.

Author's Note: Due to the power trip, and/or grudge, of a particular individual, I am on day 3 of a 5 day comment restriction for rightfully calling someone who was personally attacking me in my previous blog a "random douchebag." As I serve this punishment of unnecessary severity, I'll not be able to comment in my own blog or make any replies. To the many that are jumping for joy over this, enjoy the reprieve for its duration. To the rest of you, I will reply when I can, or if you'd like I can PM my replies to you directly.

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Welcome2Die961d ago

lol 5 days for saying "random douchebag" wow, yeah you must have pissed off an admin, Ive seen people say worse things and get off with a personal attack and no bans.

On topic: I really dont think MS should have banned someone for getting the system early, its not like they have anything game changing to reveal. If they did it would have been leaked already.

coolbeans961d ago (Edited 960d ago )

It's definitely not decorum to focus solely on something unrelated to the main basis of the blog, but I suppose I'm now obligated to address it--given that whining about restrictions in blogs seems to be a "thing" now.

-Funny thing about receiving comment restrictions on here: they tend to increase in severity as you get flagged for directly insulting members more and more.

-"Ive seen people say worse things and get off with a personal attack and no bans."

I really, really doubt that, from my experience. If someone starting aiming much more vulgar insults at another poster here, there's no reason for them not to get some form of restriction. Edit: We'll humbly admit some pretty terrible comments have certainly gone by without our notice and that's something we constantly try to improve upon.

cyguration959d ago

DragonKnight's comment restriction really does baffle me, though. It was indirectly aimed at the guy and was mostly harmless but, yeah, I agree with Welcome2Die.

Welcome2Die959d ago

Looking back at his comments I noticed he had some sort of argument with coogndo or something.
Now it all makes sense.

DragonKnight959d ago

@coolbeans: Fortunately for you, being a mod you can go off topic and not be debubbled for it. I don't know what blogs you've been reading, but I've only ever seen someone mention any kind of moderation against them in a blog one other time. I'm not whining, I just stated the fact of why I couldn't comment in my own blog.

Funny thing about restrictions on here: They don't have any standard protocol and are just winged. My previous restriction wasn't for a personal attack, it was because I said XDF and Xbot. HUGE capital offenses and BIG no nos equal in severity to curses, threats, and malicious attacks. And this time I went too far. I said "random douchebag" and that was just the worst thing ever seen. Of course it didn't have anything to do with the fact I'm constantly pointing out poor moderation on the site at all though.

Doubt whatever you want, but in the 5 days since, I've had time to read a lot of comments and you'd be surprised what's gone unmoderated, and how much of it was worse than what I said, some of it was even multiple instances of the SDF, XDF, and Xbot variety. But of course because I happened to say those things, that's more of an offense to deal with.

Ah well, 5 days are now over and nothing has changed.

coolbeans959d ago (Edited 959d ago )

"Fortunately" wouldn't exactly the correct term: there's a portion of a blog completely separated from the topic at hand with purposes to both to inform people of your temporary restriction and misinform as to why that punishment was so extended, which now resulted in the typical "mods are biased" opening seen above. You presented the fact you couldn't comment upon submitting but also with what seems to be disinformation (allow me to remind you that is listed in the guidelines). Having another user compare characteristics to the person in which you're criticizing is not a personal attack. And suggesting the severity is due to a power trip and/or grudge against you is untrue given the fact your extension is due to a very recent restriction (that one due to a small batch of comments pegged as Immature or Personal Attack).

Sure, your slight isn't the worst thing on here, but in the end still deserved moderation:

-You get a criticism regarding how you present yourself

-You then label him as "some random _________ whose sole existence on this site has been to insult some opinion or another" (I'll renege on part of my previous statement since it was indirect)

-He responds back with a harsh word of his own

Both parties threw their punches of roughly the same wieght and got the same base punishment.

"Doubt whatever you want, but in the 5 days since, I've had time to read a lot of comments and you'd be surprised what's gone unmoderated, and how much of it was worse than what I said, some of it was even multiple instances of the SDF, XDF, and Xbot variety."

Sorry to see some you've seen some of those immature comments have snuck past (at least when you saw them--perhaps they were caught later).

"Ah well, 5 days are now over and nothing has changed."

Indeed, 5 days have past and users still enjoy placing blame on mods/admins when they're caught and rightly punished.

@Welcome2Die

"Looking back at his comments I noticed he had some sort of argument with coogndo or something.
Now it all makes sense."

Let me clear the air here and mention he's never had a part in giving any of DK's restrictions. And allow me to say goodno isn't the kind of character that would bottle up malice against a poster here who's just given him a lot of guff.

DragonKnight959d ago

"there's a portion of a blog..."

What misinformation? That I was given an unduly harsh punishment for use of the word douchebag, a non-insult that runs rampant on the site on a daily basis completely unmoderated yet mine was heavily moderated thanks to the fact that the last time I was moderated was because I said Xbot, and XDF, more terminology that goes on rampant on the site every day unmoderated? Do I now need to start a screenshot series of comments you don't moderate to highlight the extent of the problem that is the moderation on this site just so you can finally admit that moderation has no standard here and is based on the individual mod's perception and judgement?

Oh of course stating that I'm on the verge of a mental breakdown based on my blogs and making other subtle personal insults isn't a personal attack. Whatever was I thinking. Douchebag is a serious offense, but a comparison of broken down mental states is perfectly fine right? See what I mean? No standards.

"Sure, your slight isn't the worst thing on here, but in the end still deserved moderation:"

The amount of things on this site that deserve moderation and don't receive it would be a full time job to compile a list on. In theory what you're saying sounds like a good moderation job, in practice it's akin to police officers pulling people over to ticket them so that they meet a monthly quota and actual offense, or degree of offense, becomes irrelevant.

"Sorry to see some you've seen some of those immature comments have snuck past (at least when you saw them--perhaps they were caught later)."

Typical mod response not based in fact. There was no "some" that "snuck past." I don't expect you to acknowledge it because you're not paying attention to them. Hell, I'm gonna start that screenshot series just for the hell of it, and then make a comparison of length of time the unmoderated comments remained on the site, repeat offenders who weren't punished for it, etc.. Just for my own information of course, no need to, as cgoodno put it, continue throwing mistakes in your faces.

"Indeed, 5 days have past and users still enjoy placing blame on mods/admins when they're caught and rightly punished."

Does the tone of my comments, or the portion of this blog discussing my restriction, have a tone of joviality and amusement to it? It's facts. I wrote a blog, I couldn't comment on it, I posted why. Given the severity of my restriction based on the comments, the punishment doesn't add up to the crime. You've had 2 users in here besides myself tell you this, but of course being a mod that doesn't matter to you. Call it enjoyment if you want, I assure you there's none in it as far as I'm concerned.

"Let me clear the air here and mention he's never had a part in giving any of DK's restrictions."

You haven't been a mod for as long as I've been here, so using the absolute "never" is not something you have the knowledge to state. Also, allow cgoodno to speak about his own character on his own. There's no need for you to defend him.

Now that that's been said, this comment will be the final one I make on this subject. I have a screenshot series to prepare, and discussing moderation shortcomings for the umpteenth time has become tiresome. I'll simply allow the shots to speak for themselves in the future.

Games4M - Rob959d ago (Edited 959d ago )

One things for sure DragonKnight - this comments section was a lot better off when you were banned from commenting.

You come across as paranoid, arrogant, and completely obsessed that you are right and so therefore everyone must agree with you.

If you care this much about these petty things and truly believe there is some kind of moderator conspiracy against you then i think you need to step back, chill out and get a reality check.

Like i said it was quite a nice blog before you derailed it, shame.

coolbeans959d ago (Edited 959d ago )

--"What misinformation?"

Allow me to correct myself now in saying disinformation, instead of misinformation. I'll have to cut it into pieces:

"Author's Note: Due to the power trip, and/or grudge, of a particular individual, I am on day 3 of a 5 day comment restriction for rightfully calling someone who was personally attacking me..."

Here there's already 3 mistakes I can see:

-a false presumption as to why the punishment was given to you, as if bias is the ruling factor in the decision.

-the notion that you can "rightfully" insult someone on here. In previous mod run-ins, you've been told to either ignore it and let mods handle it (which we've shown in specific cases of someone harassing you in the past that we do follow up on it) or respond in a fashion that remains within the guidelines.

-the idea that Sleet's first comment could be considered him personally attacking you. To further this part:

"Oh of course stating that I'm on the verge of a mental breakdown based on my blogs and making other subtle personal insults isn't a personal attack."

Basing it off his perceived attitude of how you were responding...the context doesn't really fit for it being a personal attack. What...so now someone stating that you're feverishly writing blogs about non issues and calling the way you comment is akin to fanatical rantings can be perceived as other subtle personal insults?

What I've combed through above and the basic sugar-coating of your author's note presents inaccurate information that displays the intention of misleading the audience.

--"...yet mine was heavily moderated thanks to the fact that the last time I was moderated was because I said Xbot, and XDF,"

Now, now, now. I said that you were marked for both immature comments (which you stated above) and one marked as a personal attack. Don't try to white-wash that.

--"Do I now need to start a screenshot series of comments you don't moderate to highlight the extent of the problem that is the moderation on this site just so you can finally admit that moderation has no standard here and is based on the individual mod's perception and judgement?"

You don't need my permission to do something that will ultimately be futile.

--"In theory what you're saying sounds like a good moderation job, in practice it's akin to police officers pulling people over to ticket them so that they meet a monthly quota and actual offense, or degree of offense, becomes irrelevant."

That doesn't mean the "irrelevance" of your comment should now be glanced over. Some random reported Sleet's second comment, the comment and other comments were looked over, and a punishment was passed down. There's really nothing else to it.

coolbeans959d ago (Edited 959d ago )

--"Typical mod response not based in fact. There was no "some" that "snuck past." I don't expect you to acknowledge it because you're not paying attention to them."

No, the phrasing of that was based in truth. Again, I'll certainly admit that not every instant of deserved punishment is given, but I'm not going to sit here believing for a moment those missed opportunities are in the majority. Choose to acknowledge that or not...makes no difference to me.

--"Given the severity of my restriction based on the comments, the punishment doesn't add up to the crime. You've had 2 users in here besides myself tell you this, but of course being a mod that doesn't matter to you."

Given the time in when they've responded, this could partly be blamed on your disinformation.

--"Does the tone of my comments, or the portion of this blog discussing my restriction, have a tone of joviality and amusement to it?"

There are many more ways of enjoying something then expressing it through jovial or amused tone. The consistency of your attitude towards someone that may either disagree with you and/or be in a level of authority on here gives an air that you..relish the moments in which you can act condescending.

--"You haven't been a mod for as long as I've been here, so using the absolute "never" is not something you have the knowledge to state."

Actually, it is. Every warning or restriction that has not been manually removed remains on everyone's profile (time of becoming a mod has nothing to do with it). In regards to your mod history, cgoodno isn't a name stamped to any of your punishments.

--"Also, allow cgoodno to speak about his own character on his own. There's no need for you to defend him."

First, me commenting about him in one of my responses hasn't disallowed him to speak on his own behalf.

Second, you're not going to tell me whom I can or cannot defend. Sure there was no need for it, but I still wanted to. When some random poster's leveling an accusation, or implying one, against someone on here who's on my short list of respectable n4g users, I'll be happy to jump in. Perhaps there will be day where I can do the same for you.

If there's one thing I'm sorry about is that this had to be dragged here, in effect poisoning the main topic you're trying to discuss. But then again, desperate times, right? When you're given the opportunity to discuss ALL of this restriction business in a ticket yet only use that opportunity to just tell us off again about failing in our jobs and then bring your dirty laundry here, I can't help but shake my head at this pathetic jab.

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 959d ago
maniacmayhem961d ago (Edited 961d ago )

I know you like to focus your attention, blogs and comments mostly(all the time) on MS more than the other company but you need to understand that ALL companies have this.

A recent article was just posted on N4G:

"Francis commented on reddit that he had to follow a ‘strict set of rules’ on what he could and couldn’t show so that Sony could ‘maintain momentum’. The unit was taken back by Sid, it was needed for promo purpose elsewhere."

As you can see even Sony has a strict NDA in place for consumers who might get a PS4 early. No company wants an early user to steal their launch day thunder. I mean instead of just going off emotion Dragon, actually consider and think why a company would NOT want anyone to talk about their system or show it off before it's actual launch. Apply this to any form of media, whether it be music, movies or books.

What if that user purposely talks bad about the console? Wouldn't that influence a lot of people who are on the fence about a purchase. What if they show a feature that's not ready, maybe it needs a patch, this user isn't going to know this. To him it's just broke and since he has a wide media outlet like youtube all he has to do is post a sensational, N4G worthy title like: "Xbox One/PS4 feature doesn't work, Console not ready".

And you know the drill. Once that gets out every story will report it as fact. More bad publicity because someone doesn't know what's going on behind the scenes. And again MS has to go into PR mode and we'll get more blogs and comments from you regarding that as well.
(As we can already see with CoD on Xbox One, http://www.spawnfirst.com/n...

"the mere fact that Microsoft are so swift and arbitrary with banning people is disturbing."

Banning cheaters, hackers, trolls and online bullies is disturbing? They take action when something is wrong or if someone is abusive. Isn't this what a company should do? Or would you rather let these griefers continue to be a nuisance on Live. You act like MS is banning innocent users just for the hell of it.

"None of us agreed to the terms of a partnership that Microsoft has with any third party source, therefore we are not bound by the terms of those agreements."

Yes you do, we are all bound by some sort of ToS when we purchase a system and access THEIR services. It is pretty obvious that they had no intention of having the Xbox One shown off before launch.

"and consumer rights grant any consumer the right to full access and use of a product he/she paid for in full."

Just today when I turned on my PS3 it wouldn't allow me to access PSN unless I agreed to their ToS. You see Dragon, purchasing their console gives us full rights to do with the actual console as we please but that right does not extend to their services provided for that console.

Your last few paragraphs you seem to go on and on in a conspiracy filled rant. You say more and more gamers are being restricted and punished. Who are these gamers (with a S)being restricted and punished? I'm a gamer and I'm gaming now, so are millions of others around the world.

You really like to overblow and sensationalize your opinions I give you that much Dragon.

Edit:
Shame about the ban but then again a lot of us told you about your own name calling and personal attacks. I doubt the reason given is as one sided as you make it appear.

s45gr32961d ago

I am sorry but buying a console nowadays feels like prison you can't do this or that. I mean come on back in the day for NES, SNES and even PS one gamers were allowed to talk about the next generation consoles after getting one early but due to fear of bad advertisement well the gamer gets punished in contrast PC gamers can do as they please with their gaming experience.

XboxFun961d ago

This makes no sense, Gamers can still talk to each other about a console if they get it early. This is what we call word of mouth.

There was no youtube, twitter or any other form of media outlet back in the NES, SNES or even the PS days. So back then you couldn't post all over the internet of a system you got early. This is where the problem is.

Stick89960d ago

Here is the difference in the Francis situation and the Xbone situation.

Sony GAVE Francis, under certain terms (which you stated), a PS4 console strictly for promotional purposes. He accepted the console under said conditions.

Now this whole Xbone situation is entirely different. Microsoft did not give this individual his console, under specified conditions. He got this console, with his own money, under absolutely no strict conditions from Microsoft. Does it suck for Microsoft that he got the console early, well yeah. However they had no legal grounds to ban his console. He never agreed to any kind of terms and conditions as this was not sent to him for promotional purposes.

maniacmayhem960d ago (Edited 960d ago )

Different circumstances but still the same reasons.

As I have mentioned in the above comment, getting your console early is no problem but when you connect it to be online that is where the problem comes in.

You always agree to a ToS when you sign up for any company's service. His account was banned because as stated no one is suppose to live on Live until the 22nd. You are using MS Xbox Live service and it is up to them at their discretion if they can ban you or not.

This is just the same as MS giving other journalists or reviewers access to the Xbox One and also telling them the same thing Sony told Francis.

Both companies want their UI/features kept under wraps for whatever reasons and they allow some to report on the features they were given permission to see and talk about. When you have someone who has gotten an early Xbox One for whatever reason you can see what trouble it may cause as example of the CoD and DRM articles we are now getting.

zeal0us960d ago (Edited 960d ago )

"He never agreed to any kind of terms and conditions as this was not sent to him for promotional purposes."

I'm pretty sure the terms(or ToU) was either in the those little books or pieces he put aside or agree when setting up the system.

Most if not all Terms of Services agreements nowadays include a line

"We may ban your account for no reason at all"

I don't like it but we own the console not the services.

Stick89960d ago

@Manicmayhem

I'd like to know if in the ToS it specifically states he could not connect to live before the consoles actual release date (if you really can provide this info I'd appreciate it). Otherwise he is not under an NDA as he never signed up for it. Then it just falls into the category of what Zealous said and they are just going to lay down the banhammer because they feel like it.

No matter how you slice it, it's a shitty situation for everyone involved.

TomShoe961d ago (Edited 961d ago )

"Microsoft may block or otherwise prevent delivery of any type of content, email, instant message, or other communication to or from the Services as part of our effort to protect the Services or our customers, or otherwise enforce this Agreement."

"If you violate this Agreement, we may take action against you including (without limitation) removing your content from the Services, suspending or cancelling your access to the Services,"

This is from Microsoft's Terms of Service. It's basically using the ToS as a very loose blanket statement to justify anything that the leaker had posted as a bannable offense so that they could stop him from leaking info and prevent any negative news about some features until launch.

This is similar to when people enter a public school. What most students don't know, is that when they enter public school property, they forfeit their rights to privacy, meaning that the school authorities may search then anytime they like, and without reason. If they find anything they don't like, you can be banned from school without recourse.

It sucks, but that's how it is. To use their service, we have to play by their rules.

s45gr32961d ago

Which sucks ass but I understand why public schools do it and that is to keep students mind from being filthy.

zerocrossing961d ago

I dislike the idea that we're no longer "owners" of the games we purchase but merely "licensing the rights" It has been like this for a while now but it's amazing how many people aren't aware.

s45gr32961d ago

Pretty much yeah we are just paying for the right to play on their systems under their rules and regulations.

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