Video-game community aims to shoot down SOPA

If life were a video game, the Stop Online Piracy Act would have already been stopped by some high-dps death ray shot by a vengeful sorceress.

Alas, the real world is not as exciting, which explains why the video-game community is protesting the antipiracy bill through less fanciful means.

Game-play commentators, journalists, and video-game creators alike are protesting SOPA today by blacking out their sites or calling for a boycott of SOPA supporters—a group which includes the video-game industry’s lobbying arm.

A video currently making the rounds titled “Stand Together: The Gaming Community vs SOPA and PIPA” features a handful of prominent game journalists and creators disagreeing with the Entertainment Software Association’s support of SOPA.

As the group explains, their work depends on “a free and open Internet,” which they argue would cease to exist if SOPA passed. They go on to ask viewers to boycott E3, the largest and most influential annual video-game conference, unless members of the ESA, which organizes E3, “change their stance” on SOPA.

Red 5 Studios, whose CEO appeared in the ESA boycott video, shut down its free-to-play beta today, Firefall, and announced that they were pulling out of E3. Red 5 also started the group “League for Gamers,” a “gathering place for gamers, developers and industry supporters who want to stand against legislation that’s detrimental to the games industry.”

Destructoid, a video-game blog, shut down all online operations today. Instead, it covered the site with anti-SOPA images and black-and-white photos of the staff looking sad or outraged.

Niero Gonzalez, CEO of Destructoid’s parent company, the ModernMethod Network, posted a message on his blacked-out sites:

“If you think today is an inconvenience and a punishment to ‘the wrong people,’ wait until you and the rest of our readers can’t reach our sites at all because you won’t have the power to decide what websites you can and cannot reach, as that will be decided by the media companies that pay the lobbyists to decide for you. We’re fighting for us just as much as we are fighting for you, so we only ask that you support our decision and help us spread the word.”

Minecraft, the popular indie game, went a different route, painting their site red today, with the words “PIPA & SOPA? HOW ABOUT NOPA!” (PIPA is a related piece of legislation.)

Popular Minecraft video game commentators Yogscast blacked out their YouTube channel page, instead linking to another commentator’s informative 22-minute video about SOPA.

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