It hasn’t been the best year for Wargaming, the game studio behind war arcades World of Tanks and World of Warships, and it seems the bad news may be far from over. Russian language players are pointing out that YouTuber Nomen_Est_Omen saw all his World of Warships videos removed from his channel due to copyright claims for “visual elements [in the] World of Warships’ game.”
That naturally led players to assume nefarious motivations from Wargaming, particularly given a similar situation in 2017 involving a different YouTuber, SirFoch. In that incident, Wargaming did threaten to abuse YouTube’s copyright system to censor SirFoch and subsequently apologized after the threat was publicized. That dust-up was generally considered Wargaming’s biggest PR mess prior to the mass revolt of Warships community contributors earlier this year.
This time, however, Wargaming North American regional publishing director Ev1n claims on Reddit that the takedown has nothing to do with Nomen_Est_Omen’s criticism of the game but rather the “insults, slurs and other extreme expletives” routinely used by the content creator, an accusation corroborated by several Russian language players on Reddit. Ev1n’s full statement has been included below.
“We value any content dedicated to our game, regardless of whether it contains any criticism or not. We can disagree with the creator’s position, but we will respect it and take it into account, as long as it is presented in a relatively civilized way. We also understand that we all get emotional when talking about the game sometimes, so we always look for the essence of the content without taking the emotional delivery personal. Dozens of creators who openly criticize the game and who do so in a rather emotional way are proof to that.
“However, there is a line between being passionate and being outright offensive, as well as between criticizing the game and insults, slurs and other extreme expletives. We have no issue with people disliking the game or its aspects, but we are not fine with crossing these lines.
“Unfortunately, as described by /u/GBR2021, this has been the case with the content creator in question.
“The comparison to SirFoch is not lost on us and is exactly why we always try to resolve conflicts through dialogue first. We tried to address the situation with them several times, over a very long period of time – months and years. However, despite these attempts we kept having to deal with slander, extreme slurs directed at other players, content creators and company employees, as well as calls to violate our EULA. In the end, as we exhausted the means to resolve the issue through mediation, we had to take action using other tools at our disposal, even though we believe such measures should be avoided whenever possible.
“Looking back at World of Warships community history, through all our ups and downs, our content creators have always been free to speak their minds about the game. There have been many cases when we have reached out to some of them regarding the tone of their content, their language or imagery used and we’ve always been able to find resolution without escalation. We do believe this is the way it should be. However, in rare cases like this, when dialogue proves insufficient time and time again, we are committed to taking harsher action as applicable to each individual case.”
However, based on this letter, it appears here that Wargaming is admitting to attempting to use YouTube’s messy DMCA reporting system to censor the YouTuber not for his anti-Warships content but for his toxic content, which is still not the purpose of copyright interventions.
Moreover, Wargaming’s honorable intentions have been challenged by players who recalled a recent forum post by Lesta Studios (Wargaming St Petersburg) general manager Malik Khatazhaev (mal_h) regarding the CC exodus; it concludes with the subtle threat (translated from Russian): “I wonder what they will do if the developers forbid them to use their content?”
Either way, the skepticism is warranted given the company’s history.