Ever wondered what happens when you don’t adhere to the terms and conditions of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)? Look no further than what Bethesda and Microsoft did to a player who broke his NDA.
The NDA breaker in question was an Xbox One gamer, who was participating in a closed beta for Bethesda’s upcoming video game, Fallout 76. For players to gain access to the beta, they all need to click on the “Agree” button of the NDA. The restrictions of the NDA are what you’d expect; no taking photos, recording video, or even allowing another person to watch you playing the game.
In the case of the Xbox One player, he thought it would be cheeky to record a 90 seconds worth of gameplay footage and then post it to his Twitter account. Clearly hoping that the clip would go viral and possibly earn him some recognition. Of course, his action was a clear violation of the NDA, so what happened next shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Upon discovering his treachery, both Bethesda and Microsoft came down on the player, bringing along the full brunt of what they were legally allowed to do to him. First, both his Twitter and Xbox Live accounts were taken offline. Following that, Bethesda then sent the leaker an email, stating that he had been banned from the stress test and beta for Fallout 76 until its official launch on 25 October.
The player’s Twitter account was reopened, but that was only after he wrote an appeal to Bethesda. The beta ban is still in effect.
To pile on the punishment, Microsoft also placed bans on his Xbox Gold, Game Pass, and Xbox Insider accounts, rendering them unusable until 1 January 2019 next year. This means that even when Bethesda’s ban lifts, the player still won’t be able to play the game for a next several months following its launch.
NDAs are not clauses that can be taken lightly. These documents are there not just to give specific individuals and entities early access to a company’s product. But also to protect their work from falling into the hands on the competition. In some cases, the penalty for breaking an NDA would require the offender to pay a hefty fine, which could amount to thousands of Ringgit.