Trouble in MMORPG land; PR Agency Sues Developer

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Gaming specialist agency Kohnke PR is suing client Perpetual Entertainment for around $10,000 in outstanding invoices, and upwards of $280,000 in bonus pay based on performance.

Kohnke’s work for the financially troubled Perpetual was for its MMORPG game in development, Gods & Heroes. The big bonus is for favorable reviews of the game, which begs the question: How can you get a game reviewed that’s not finished?

We’re contacting industry sources to find out more about what constitutes successful influence for a pre-launch, and to find out if this arrangement is common in game PR.

MMO site TenTonHammer landed the scoop, followed by a scan of the legal docs in ShackNews.

1Up and a few other sites are mentioning the recent firing of Jeff Gerstmann from Gamespot in their coverage of Kohnke as a sign of a PR having too much influence. According to some reports, he was dismissed for writing a negative review of a game with big ad buy on the site. There are currently 11 Facebook groups celebrating and supporting Gerstmann.

(disclosure: I did some publicity work for Gamespot’s editors from 2003 to 2006, including Gerstmann)