Before starting this article, let me tell you that we’ve seen such behaviors in the past on various boards. However, it’s really funny when a developer – that does not reveal his or her true identity – tries to damage control with an anonymous account on either a gaming website or a gaming board/forum. NeoGAF’s member ‘GlassBox’ attempted such a thing and got banned for trying to ‘distort the news aggregate‘ all without actually disclosing to anyone there that he or she works for the ‘company in question.’
Polygon posted an interview with Maxis general manager, Lucy Bradshaw, and NeoGAF’s member ‘Glassbox’ reacted quickly and posted this article in due time. Of course, the user’s name attracted a lot of NeoGAFers. After all, let’s not forget that Glassbox is the name of SimCity’s engine, so there could be something here.
NeoGAF members decided to investigate on this, and came to the conclusion that this user was an EA/Maxis employee. This user had previously posted only in some SimCity topics, while also tried to damage control in one particular topic regarding SimCity’s controversial DRM.
There were also some ‘interesting’ posts that made it possible to identify this poster (that were deleted afterwards), as well as the fact that he or she had previously posted topics about Oakland and BART (Maxis is based right by Oakland).
NeoGAF’s owner, EviLore, stepped in and announced that Glassbox was banned from there because he or she was ‘attempting to distort the news aggregate, all without actually disclosing to anyone here that you work for the company in question.’
“We welcome members of the video game industry posting anonymously on NeoGAF. Obviously, anything someone says on the internet attached to their name can have consequences. We welcome you posting openly, whether in an official capacity or otherwise. Or posting semi-openly, where some people may know who you are but your name’s not coming up in Google with everything you say. All of that’s fine.
What we don’t welcome is this kind of behavior: attempting to distort the news aggregate by posting apologetic articles and accompanying them with an editorial slant favoring your company, all without actually disclosing to anyone here that you work for the company in question.”
It’s really funny that Maxis and EA tried to damage control via this way. Obviously, we know that this is happening and in other places. However, it’s a bit ‘low’ and disheartening witnessing developers and publishers trying to influence gamers this way, while at the same time refusing to offer them what most of them have been asking for in the first place.
All in all, this EA/Maxis drama is even better than Aliens: Colonial Marines’ development, so kudos to both of them for surpassing such a terrible story.