The Miucin Effect: Consequences of Plagiarism in the Video Game Community and Industry
As a UPLB student, the concept of plagiarism has been ingrained into my mind because of its importance in academic discourse. Academics, journalism, and even social media are required to uphold the same integrity in stating their references, for good reason. Gaming is no different from them. As a relatively young form of media, video games still doesn’t have a practical standards when it comes to journalism, as seen in the varying scores of a specific games from game reviews. Despite this, game journalists strive to uphold the integrity of game journalism.
Enter Filip Miucin, a (former) IGN editor. Filip Miucin was under fire for plagiarizing a small Youtuber’s review. It got worse after his apology, when it was found out that he has been plagiarizing for years. It’s suffice to say that his actions have negatively affected a lot of parties involved. In this article, I am going to go over the effects of his action in the gaming community and industry, and possibly show the lasting effects of plagiarism in the industry.
On July 24, 2018, a small youtuber named Boomstick Gaming posted his game review of Dead Cells. On August 6, 2018, Filip Miucin released his video and written review of Dead Cells on the IGN Youtube channel and website, respectively. Boomstick Gaming, a frequent lurker of IGN, saw the review and found that their review plagiarized his own review. To prove it, Boomstick Gaming posted a video showing a side-by-side view of both video reviews. IGN saw this and removed the review, stating that an investigation was underway. After the investigation, IGN confirmed that the review was indeed plagiarized. IGN issued an apology and fired their editor responsible for the review: Filip Miucin. While this is happening, Jason Schreier, a Kotaku editor, investigated this matter further and found out that Miucin plagiarized from some of Kotaku’s articles.
Miucin posted an apology video on his personal Youtube channel, although he hasn’t apologized directly to Boomstick Gaming and only apologized to IGN. He also responded to Schreier, saying that he’s only in this to popularize his work and that he wants his fellows to suffer. Miucin challenged Schreier to prove that he plagiarized more works, stating that they won’t find anything. This is when the wild fire went out of control.
The internet went on a hunt, with great results. It turns out that Miucin plagiarized from more reviews, forum posts, and even his (former) fellow IGN editors’ works. He even plagiarized his own LinkedIn resume from a job template website. The extent of this is so far and wide, IGN removed all of their reviews and articles written by Miucin. Outrage sparked, from the gaming community, other game journalism websites, and his former co-workers. As of the writing of this article, Miucin is radio-silent, with the apology video taken down.
For those who are uninformed, plagiarism does not only affect the plagiarist. It’s the consequences that can vary from this action. Plagiarism affects the company he worked for, the author he plagiarized from, and the integrity of the industry.
1. To IGN
IGN may not be the most reliable gaming news site, but we could not deny that they are trying their best in a budding journalism industry. They attempt to maintain a (somewhat) standard and integrity, only to be ruined by a single editor’s incompetence. They had to waste resources to investigate and remove every single article written by Miucin, whilst trying to regain their integrity. Although they handled it quite professionally and competently, the damage has been done and they have to fix the errors of a renegade editor.
2. To the Victims
Boomstick Gaming handled this incident real well. When Forbes asked if he will take actions he stated:
“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.”
Boomstick Gaming may not have been much negatively affected by this incident (in fact, he has found a significant in views and subscriber count). That much cannot be said of other authors. Plagiarism is avoided to give credit and respect to the author, especially if this is their livelihood. Miucin took advantage of authors’ works by claiming it’s his, thereby robbing them of their livelihood. He could also take advantage of a greenhorn gaming journalist trying to enter the business. All in all, plagiarism could take away the livelihood and opportunities of gaming journalists.
3. To the Industry
As I said before, gaming journalism is a relatively young industry. As such, it is still a developing journalism sector that still has a solid foundation on ethics and standards. Despite that, numerous game journalists as a whole strive for ethics equal to a standard news journalism. This incident could’ve made that struggle in vain, rendering game journalism as another popularity contest where game companies can actually invest in. It is with the quick action of IGN that still saved it. However, further acts of plagiarism will destroy the reputation this type of journalism has built since the dawn of arcade games.
I love video games to the point that I stopped pirating them in favor of giving my money and respect to game developers. However, I see video games as an investment for fun, where the amount of fun determines the success of my investment. This mentality requires being informed on a game, which is why I also subscribe to gaming news and reviews. As a consumer, I want to be told the objective truth in order to be informed. Plagiarism is a plague that hides truths and leaves people being misinformed. I may not be directly affected by this controversy, but I don’t want to have an industry on a shell of its former self.