Firefall, Minecraft developers to join SOPA blackout protest

While the ESA may still be stubbornly refusing to back down on their support of the highly controversial and shamelessly freedom-depriving SOPA and PIPA bills, more and more gaming companies, several of which are members of the ESA, are starting to speak out against SOPA.

In a statement to Shacknews, Firefall developer Red 5 said it plans to shut down its website, the community website, and the open beta for Firefall on Wednesday as part of the growing 24-hour “blackout” protest.

“We are extremely disappointed in this misguided legislation. We are also ashamed of the ESA for supporting a bill which is clearly not in the best interests of gamers or the game industry,” Red 5 CEO Mark Kern told Shacknews.

“This bill, and it’s sister bill, Protect IP, will shut down live streaming, shout casting, user generated content and have a chilling effect on game innovation and social media.” Kern went on to plead with the gaming industry–developers, publishers, and press–to join in “letting the ESA know they do not represent our views on this issue, and strongly oppose SOPA and PIPA.”

Mojang boss Markus Persson (Notch) also vowed to join in on the SOPA protest, announcing that Mojang will be shutting down both its main website and Minecraft.net for 24 hours. “Decided. We’ll silently take down http://minecraft.net and http://mojang.com on the 18th in protest of SOPA,” he wrote.

Red 5 and Mojang aren’t the only two developers to step up and speak out against SOPA as of late. Bungie, developer of the wildly popular Halo series, spoke out against the bill on its website earlier today, saying:

“Bungie is opposed to any legislation that curtails free speech, stifles innovation, and prevents the open sharing of information on the Internet. SOPA fits that bill. If it passes, it will hurt our community, the gaming community at large, and it could very well cripple the kind of games we love to create and play.”

Bungie, Red 5 and Mojang join a growing list of developers who have spoken out against SOPA. Runic Games, Epic, 38 Studios, THQ and MLG have all recently voiced opposition against the bill, making it all the more confusing that the ESA insists on holding firm when several of its members, and the industry as a whole, are starting to speak out against the bill.

Still, it’s awesome to see the gaming industry band together in opposition of SOPA and PIPA. Here’s to hoping that other developers and publishers will take note and follow suit.

Source: Shacknews, @notch