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What is a NDA?
A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA),proprietary information agreement (PIA), or secrecy agreement, is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to or by third parties. It's a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement. An NDA creates a confidential relationship between the parties to protect any type of confidential and proprietary information or trade secrets. As such, an NDA protects nonpublic business information.
NDAs are commonly signed when two companies, individuals, or other entities (such as partnerships, societies, etc.) are considering doing business and need to understand the processes used in each other's business for the purpose of evaluating the potential business relationship. NDAs can be "mutual", meaning both parties are restricted in their use of the materials provided, or they can restrict the use of material by a single party.
Summary: it's to prevent any information about the product being test/developed from being leaked to the public.
Why do I bring this up?
Well, when it comes to gaming and especially the MMO circuit key features and gameplay can make or break the worthiness of a game. Whether it be network connectivity, PvP features, PvE features, or overall game-killing bugs. These things need to properly be discussed. If you're not able to properly discuss key features with people who are interested in the game how can you properly come up with fixes or improvements?
Now, lets talk in the realm of reality and look at it from a consumer standpoint. We all know it's suppose to be a legal contract that a person is not able to discuss any key features about the game whether it be the seamless world vs. heavily zoned or if it's another feature that might be a game-killer; you're not allowed to discuss it with anyone outside the guidelines of the contract. However, we can thoroughly say this information is still leaked regardless of the NDA contract.
So if the general public are still receiving information about the game why keep it secret from the general public?
Lets look at it in the aspect of a business perspective. You want to prevent any key features of your product from being stolen and used to improve someone elses product right? Of course! However, it's safe to say that because of the ability to easily obtain early alpha access to these games that also means your competition is able to infiltrate their way into it and aquire the information they want as well.
So, why bother writing up a NDA if your competition is still aquiring the ideas within your product?
Instead of being "secretive" with your already publicly released product. Why not allow people to publicly discuss the pros and cons of the product with the general populous to improve your products design and patch any flaws. Companies need to realise that the same people who are discussing these key features and recommending these improvements are the same people who are interested in buying the product. Which means they're there to insure that the quality of the product is top notch.