2K Defends Its Actions, SupMatto’s Channel Vanishes Amidst Boycott Calls

A storm of controversy continues against 2K after they sent investigators to a YouTuber’s house. This includes boycotts as well as the YouTuber’s channel disappearance.

Earlier this month, we brought you word that a YouTuber by the name SupMatto was discussing the upcoming Borderlands 3 game. Apparently, he discussed possible features for the upcoming game. The problem for the publisher was that some of that discussion was actually leaked information. In response, 2K games not only issued multiple DMCA notices against his account, but also sent investigators to his house to question him.

The actions by 2K did not go over well. Many are blasting the company of having an over the top reaction over this whole thing. In response, a number of fans are actively calling for a boycott of the game. From The Daily Dot:

Fans of the Borderlands video games are proposing a boycott of the franchise’s latest installment, Borderlands 3, with the hashtag #BoycottBorderlands3 on Twitter.

Outrage, of course, spread across YouTube over the incident. In response, 2K Games went out to the media trying to defend their actions in this case. From The Verge:

“Take Two and 2K take the security and confidentiality of trade secrets very seriously,” a 2K representative told The Verge. “The action we’ve taken is the result of a 10-month investigation and a history of this creator profiting from breaking our policies, leaking confidential information about our product, and infringing our copyrights.” 2K is a subsidiary of Take-Two, and it handles publishing for Gearbox Software’s Borderlands series.

2K representative declined to comment on whether private investigators contracted by its parent company were indeed sent to SupMatto’s house. Instead, 2K representative told The Verge the company will “take the necessary actions to defend against leaks and infringement of our intellectual property that not only potentially impact our business and partners.”

“The information he’s sharing about the situation is incomplete, and in some cases untrue,” the representative said. “Not only were many of his actions illegal, but they were negatively impacting the experiences of other content creators and our fans in anticipation for the game.”

Of course, this leaves the person that was at the receiving end of all of this: Supmatto. Apparently, after he said that he was rethinking things over, his YouTube channel vanished altogether. From PlayStation LifeStyle:

Borderlands YouTuber Matt “SupMatto” Somers’ YouTube channel has disappeared a little over a week after he revealed that 2K and Take-Two Interactive sent private investigators to his home for sharing Borderlands 3 leaks.

Somers shared several accurate leaks through unnamed sources and information datamined from a private Twitch account that led to an investigation by Take-Two. At first, Somers defended himself and argued that he was merely sharing information that was unearthed by others. However, he later seemed to regret sharing the information, stating that he spent time reflecting upon the situation and felt that his excitement got the better of his judgment.

What’s interesting is the fact that this isn’t even the first controversy to erupt over the game in question. Earlier this year, there was another controversy over the actor who provided the voice for ClapTrap. Back in May, the voice actor accused the developer of not paying him for providing his voicework. From a report on PCGamer at the time:

Eddings, a former Gearbox executive who formerly provided Claptrap’s voice for no additional pay, explained his absence last week, claiming that the company did not want to pay him following his departure in 2017. Gearbox later issued an official response claiming it “offered him an industry standard rate, but [they] were not able to reach an agreement.”

Tensions have since flared, with Pitchford labelling Eddings “bitter and disgruntled” in a Tweet earlier this week. Now Eddings has offered his own missive, claiming that Pitchford physically assaulted him in the lobby of the Marriott Marquis hotel in San Francisco in 2017. He also makes the accusation that Pitchford “siphoned away” $12m of revenue from the Gearbox employee royalty pool.

Gearbox has responded to our request for comment. It continues to refrain from commenting on the $12 million accusation, a reference to a lawsuit from January, which is an ‘ongoing investigation’. It has responded to the physical assault allegation with this statement: “Gearbox takes any and all claims of this nature very seriously and we will abstain from commenting on the allegations Dave is making because it is a personnel matter. We appreciate David’s contributions to the Borderlands franchise and have continued to assert we would welcome him back into the mix as the voice of Claptrap and other future opportunities.”

As someone who has covered copyright and file-sharing when the debates were at at its height, I’ve seen similar situations before. When the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was in the midst of the ill-fated mass litigation campaign against their own fans, there were many boycott calls. This eventually mirrored the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Business Software Alliance (BSA). The idea behind the boycott was to vote with your wallet. If you disagree with the mass litigation, hurt them financially.

The end result was that it wound up not amounting to much. Those calls certainly made noise, but there wasn’t much in the way of tangible results.

So, with the calls for a boycott of a particular game, if history is anything to go by, such calls face a huge uphill battle to be successful. History will tell if this is going to be an exception, but it’s going to be a pretty big challenge for those pushing for that boycott.

One thing is for sure, with so much already happening just in the lead-up to the release of the game, it’s going to be interesting to see if any more fireworks come out of this.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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