SOPA's down, but not out, and it would seriously suck for social games
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will postpone the vote on PIPA "in light of recent events," according to CNN, while House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (the main man behind SOPA) said he will "postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution." It's undoubtedly progress. However, there's also no doubt that alterations will be made to both the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act in hopes of bringing them to vote.
The two bills could still pose a threat to shared information on the Internet, and that includes Facebook games. The far-reaching language within each bill (which you can learn more about here), if passed, would have a ripple effect on nearly every corner of Internet entertainment, crippling companies like Zynga and 6L. And if the big mahoffs are concerned, you can bet the little guys are at risk, too.
"As our games allow people to communicate freely with each other about the games, they can send links to each other or anything in the forums, that can also count as something that violates SOPA," Stewart tells us. "Actually, it may even be the case that Facebook can be taken offline, if our games appear on Facebook, and that communication interferes with the Facebook.com domain."
While all video games these days rely on player feedback, as almost all games are updated or fixed according to the needs and wants of players, social games arguably stand to suffer even worse. The average social game isn't updated monthly, but weekly and sometimes on the fly to either introduce new content or fix outstanding issues.
"Basically, it would make it very difficult to police any sort of community," Stewart admits. "[We] wouldn't really want to take the risk of having any communications, especially when people could potentially link to pirated material. If that were to happen, our entire game could be taken offline, which is pretty much going to destroy our business."
But when Zynga decided to make a statement, the company argued that SOPA and PIPA's effects were far more reaching than crippling game communities. "The overly broad provisions we've seen in the pending SOPA and PIPA bills could be used to target legitimate US sites and chill innovation at a time when it is needed most," Zynga said in a statement, likely implying that companies would avoid creating new games, content or services in fear of copyright infringement allegations.
[Image Credits: Zynga, The Week, Ars Technica]
Did you join the protests against SOPA and PIPA in one way or another? What do you think of their potential effects on social gaming, and what would you suggest instead? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.