The developer of World Of Tanks, Wargaming, has apologized after threatening a Youtuber with a copyright claim over a controversial video.
There’s a problem with most free to play games - it can be hard to make money when you’re giving away your game for free.
The standard business model for a free to play game is to provide the core of the game at no charge and put a price on the little extras that make the game special, such as unique skins or emblems. After that you can offer for-pay shortcuts that let you bypass the grind of leveling up or accumulating resources in order to unlock content.
But there’s one thing you should always do in a free to play game: make sure the playing field is level between those with money to spend and those that don’t. Once a free to play game becomes pay-to-win it can spell the beginning of the end.
Enter SirFoch, a World of Tanks YouTuber who’s racked up a staggering number of hours in the game. He’s played so much that Wargaming, the developers of World of Tanks, made him a Community Contributor which gave him exclusive early access to in-game content before it hits the wider community. This gave him a sneak peak at the most recent tank to be brought to the game, the Chrystler K, and what SirFoch found was astonishing.
The Chrystler K was introduced as a for-pay tank without any frontal weak spots, something that is virtually unheard of in the ultra-realistic World of Tanks. In his brief video on the new tank he points out the visual model showing what should be a weakness in the armor where the machine guns poke through, however the collision model shows no such weakness. With no armor gap to exploit, players are forced to pay for premium ammo in order to effectively combat the Chrystler K.
“How else are we going to make money if we don’t force everybody to spend premium ammo and buy premium tanks," SirFoch asks sarcastically at the end of his short and expletive filled video.
While many players agree with the thrust of SirFoch’s salt-filled rant, Wargaming didn’t seem to find it amusing. They quickly ejected him from the Community Contributor program and then threatened to make a copyright claim on his YouTube channel, which would prevent him from making any money from advertising.
Lucky for SirFoch, the Wargaming forums quickly came to his defense, causing Wargaming to back down from their earlier threat.
In a statement on their website Wargaming apologized, writing, “We could have handed the situation a lot better. We strongly support our players’, including our Community Contributors’, right to speak critically about us and our games. We acted too quickly and over the line when we threatened to have YouTube remove SirFoch’s video through a copyright infringement complaint and we are apologizing for that.”
SirFoch eventually took down his Chrystler K review, and replaced it with a much longer 20 minute rant criticizing World of Tanks as a flawed game. Wargaming has since introduced the Chrystler K with little fanfare.