One of the biggest gaming and entertainment websites, IGN, was put under the spotlight when plagiarism reports came to light on Reddit about their review on the recently released indie rogue-lite game Dead Cells. It links to a Youtube video by small games review channel Boomstick Gaming showing a side by side comparison of his own review video (uploaded July 24) versus IGN’s video review (uploaded August 6, now removed), highlighting a number of eerily similar sentence structures and words made by editor Filip Miucin. Have a look for yourself:
One thing to note here is this: Boomstick Gaming had approximately 11,000 subscribers (now 30,000, booming after the controversy) while IGN currently has over 10 million subs. Immediately after uploading the video, Boomstick had also tweeted directly at IGN which prompted them to take the review down and investigate the allegations.
In its place, we could see this statement:
Paul Tassi of Forbes had spoken to the creator of Boomstick Gaming, Alex, about the issue who had this to say:
"At this time I have not been contacted back by IGN, but I would like to be cited, collaborated with, and compensated for the healthy ad revenue they pulled in on both their written review and video review. As for the author Filip, this was his first video review for IGN and it is slightly understandable to seek knowledge from someone who has done multiple reviews before, but it should not have been replicated in this manner. I foster no ill will towards Filip and do not encourage firing of this gentleman because I have been unemployed (business closure) for 6 months now and would not wish this burden on anyone. I have been doing YouTube since 2006 as a hobby and have found somewhat of a following in 2018. A few months ago I started a Patreon that attempts to help me continue what I enjoy doing by accepting donations from fans of my videos, but have seen little to no success."
Alex had said that despite the blatant plagiarism, he does not want Miucin fired. He had just hoped that his work was cited or perhaps there could have been a collaboration between him and IGN/Filip and hopefully compensation for any ad revenue made through the IGN video. As of yet, there hasn’t been confirmation on either side on what will happen to the ad revenue made from the web review and Youtube videos.
But as of a few hours ago, IGN released a statement saying that they have determined that Miucin’s actions were indeed akin to plagiarism and they have “parted ways” with him:
IGN's Statement on the Dead Cells review investigation: pic.twitter.com/3hh0hpPK0Y— IGN (@IGN) August 7, 2018
“Though our Dead Cells reviewer played the game and came away with glowing opinions of it — as did many of our other staff members — the review itself was simply not acceptable. We’ve parted ways with the writer involved in the review, and we will be re-reviewing Dead Cells this week … Nothing is more important to us than your trust.”
Good news for Boomstick Gaming, though! IGN is looking into compensating him for this, in a tweet response by IGN’s co-founder Peer Schneider:
Yes, we have talked about other steps behind the scenes. Our editorial manager reached out with a proposal along those lines.— Peer Schneider (@PeerIGN) August 8, 2018
A quick scroll down the replies to the IGN tweet, you can see that the Internet is standing together against big boys squishing the little creators and applaud the decision:
But there are also those who are worried for Miucin, because while the Internet is great for its vast pool of information, it is also notorious for its trolls. One netizen concerned that this smear on Miucin’s name will haunt him his whole life:
Plagiarism is a big fat no-no, whether it’s in university work or media publishing. However, the biggest difference is that even though you can learn from your mistakes from both situations, once your actions are put to light on the internet, you might not be able to ever recover. What’s on the Internet, stays on the Internet. Sadly, it isn’t an isolated case as this has happened in Malaysia too.
A lesson for aspiring writers: never assume that you copying someone else’s work will go unnoticed - high chance that in the current Internet landscape, you will be found out and called out whether you’re a small time creator or someone working in a big company like IGN. Hopefully this is also something all online media publishing companies will start taking more seriously and we won’t hear another case like this in the future.