The strange world of the NDA

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

The non-disclosure agreement, commonly known as the NDA, is a document that the MMO world has come to rely on as a bastion of secrecy, trust, and tempered information release. As the stakes are raised with every new MMO hitting the market and larger beta tests a new necessity, the NDA has come into a new era all its own. The video game industry has never been a stranger to the NDA and, as you might expect, the MMO industry is definitely a friend to this type of agreement.

With private closed betas of MMOs becoming the new normal, sometimes it’s very difficult to keep the lid on all of the information your beta provides to the masses. One of the most important public relations tools is the slow drip of information that comes out to hype a new MMO before its release date. Keeping that slow drip going without your stalwart beta testers leaking screenshots, posting anonymously about content, or taking the conversation to inappropriate venues can hurt the precious hype time you’ve worked so hard to cultivate.

Blizzard is no stranger to harsh NDA issues and secrecy concerns. Back during the alpha for Wrath of the Lich King, huge amounts of information were leaked about the expansion, prompting Blizzard to make uncharacteristically harsh comments toward the leakers. Many people still have the enormous Cataclysm leak still fresh in their minds, as the friends and family alpha/beta of Catacylsm was fileted on the internet, opened for the world to see from every possible angle.

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The strange world of the NDA originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 25 Nov 2011 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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