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Evil Empire has Evil Customer Service - Surprised?


Bruunwald
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Somewhere on this forum a few months back there was someone passionately defending GW, including making the argument that the reason GW's prices were so very high was largely to subsidize all these tournaments and group activities and places GW maintained where fans could congregate and play.

 

That was actually this very thread, back on pages 6 and 7.

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Somewhere on this forum a few months back there was someone passionately defending GW, including making the argument that the reason GW's prices were so very high was largely to subsidize all these tournaments and group activities and places GW maintained where fans could congregate and play.

 

That was actually this very thread, back on pages 6 and 7.

 

It was, yeah. ::): I didn't want to call the user out by name, but it was a ridiculous enough argument that I needed to ring its bell again.

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Such a defence could conceivably be valid. After all, GW profits promulgate GW products, advertising, and IP spin-offs like computer games, which in turn means that GW games are what you play if you want opponents in almost any place big enough to have more than 1 hobbyist in it. The high prices should mean better turnover for stores with lots of GW customers. Maybe better margins, I don't pretend to know.

 

It is more defensible to simply say that a successful gaming company generates additional services to gamers both directly and indirectly by the very fact of its success. TSR did the same. IMO Reaper's Kickstarter did the same as well, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that the buzz it created simply by combining advantageous financing with product its consumers wanted brought a decent amount of fresh blood into the hobby.

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Well Space Marines arguably use someone else's term (space marine) to rebadge someone else's biologically and psychologically engineered killing machines in service of the 10,000 year Imperium (Sardauker). The Imperium of Man likewise existed in plainly recognisable form and under the same name as early as the 1930s. Dark Angel is someone else's poem, their founder a misspelling of the name of the author of that poem. It goes on... and on... and on.

 

That's not to say that GW hasn't created a swathe of rightly defensible stuff, especially visually. Particularly their Space Marines imagined as 1200AD relic-festooned religious zealots in power armour. It's just a bit rich that a company that appropriated other people's IP wholesale is now trying to defend that IP from encroachments less derivative than its own initial appropriation.

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I saw Wil Wheaton tweeted the EFF about this yesterday who confirmed they were looking into it.
At this point I don't think it matters if GW turns out to be 100% correct due to some vaguery of trademark law, it's too late to hide the PR failure.

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Yanno, way back when Games Workshop was the cute little distributor of D&D in the UK and printing their cutely shabby fanzine, with their cute little Tolkien ripoff game and their cutely ridiculous space scifi version of it . . .

 

I would not have predicted they would become Weyland-Yutani.

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One has to wonder if their crazy IP protection has to do with them seeing Blizzard make billions off of generic-a-fying GW's properties? I know GW themselves take a lot of influence from other sources but the first warcraft game was just supposed to be a warhammer game.

I think it has more to do with the legal requirement that companies make the most profit possible for their shareholders. Some boards become over zeaoulous in their attempts to make a reasonable profit.

 

There's also the fact that if they want to protect their IP (™, ©, etc.), they are legally required to actively defend their rights. The problem I have is the seeming unfairness small business owners and authors face when they are targeted due to lack of funds to fight back, as opposed to large companies that are "infringing" in a similar or worse manner. There's something to be said for picking fights you'll win, but a 6' man should not feel good or proud of beating up a 6 year old.

 

-Dave

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[quote name=dispatchdave" post="675247" time="1360441867][quote name=MonkeySloth" post="675238" time="1360438672] One has to wonder if their crazy IP protection has to do with them seeing Blizzard make billions off of generic-a-fying GW's properties? I know GW themselves take a lot of influence from other sources but the first warcraft game was http://kotaku.com/5929161/how-warcraft-was-almost-a-warhammer-game-and-how-that-saved-wow'>just supposed to be a warhammer game. I think it has more to do with the legal requirement that companies make the most profit possible for their shareholders. Some boards become over zeaoulous in their attempts to make a reasonable profit. There's also the fact that if they want to protect their IP (™, ©, etc.), they are legally required to actively defend their rights. The problem I have is the seeming unfairness small business owners and authors face when they are targeted due to lack of funds to fight back, as opposed to large companies that are "infringing" in a similar or worse manner. There's something to be said for picking fights you'll win, but a 6' man should not feel good or proud of beating up a 6 year old. -Dave

 

That does seem to be their modus operandi. They seem to deliberately pick weak targets who can't possibly defend themselves in order to establish precedents over people who could otherwise easily beat them in a fair legal fight.

 

Unfortunately for them, it looks like this time the defenseless small businessperson they picked on turned out to belong to a large and supportive community.

 

And they have over time behaved in such a way as to not encourage a lot of gamer support for them in this matter, I think.

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The reason Blizzard "got away with everything" is that there's no way to prove they derived anything from GW. As derivative as 40K is, Warhammer is just a collection of fantasy tropes and nothing else. There is literally not one speck of originality in Warhammer. It's a collection of their favourite things from Tolkien and Moorcock. End of story. I cannot imagine anything in that IP being defensible.

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The reason Blizzard "got away with everything" is that there's no way to prove they derived anything from GW. As derivative as 40K is, Warhammer is just a collection of fantasy tropes and nothing else. There is literally not one speck of originality in Warhammer. It's a collection of their favourite things from Tolkien and Moorcock. End of story. I cannot imagine anything in that IP being defensible.

The same reason, I imagine, why they can't do anything about Avatars of War despite Felix using very Warhammeresque designs.

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