The Rise of Leaks in the Gaming Industry

The Rise of Leaks in the Gaming Industry

The leaking of games online has become more and more prominent in recent years. Whether from retailers accidentally posting a listing for a game or from developers themselves. With the age of the internet well and truly upon us, it has become easier and easier for those online to grab a screenshot of something related to a title and post it for all to see.

Assassin's Creed Unity is a recent high profile leak

Assassin’s Creed Unity is a recent high-profile leak

 

The issue has become so widespread many have begun to question if this isn’t a marketing ploy. While I tend to believe most leaks are an honest mistake, I can see why people are making this claim. It generates interest if a game is leaked leading people to anticipate official news, therefore increasing the number of people who may buy the game. Some may argue this takes something away from the official announcement. For all those who protest, many are eager to gather up as much information as possible on a game, whether they agree with it or not, in particular those triple AAA games that have a high level of interest.

So why am I bringing this up today? Well, apart from the high number of leaks recently, this is a time when leaks can have a detrimental effect. I’m of course referring to E3. With E3 almost a week away, many developers and gamers are excited to hear about the latest games coming their way, for this year and the next couple of years. The onset of two new next-gen consoles will have only increased this anticipation. But is the excitement of E3 diminished slightly by these leaks?

Today's announcement of Mortal Kombat X was preceded by a leaked poster image

Today’s announcement of Mortal Kombat X was preceded by a leaked poster image

 

Not entirely. But I would make the case that the majority of gamers, and especially developers, would prefer a game to be kept under wraps until it’s announcement at E3.  On one side, the developer has or will spend years on this project, many will have worked months in advance on forming something special to show off to the media and attendees at E3. For gamers, is there anything that beats that buzz of hearing about a brand new game, free of rumors, pulled screenshots, leaked trailers and ill-advised tweets?

Now it would be naive of me to expect things to change in terms of leaks in the near future. There will always be those who want to glean information about a game and there will always be mistakes leading to leaks. Nevertheless, I’d much prefer to learn about a game officially rather than see a hastily taken photo of some box art or a listing from a foreign retailer. Luckily for us gamers there will be plenty of surprises still to come at E3.

These are my thoughts, what are yours? Are leaks the latest in marketing for publishers? Do you like to learn of a game earlier than intended? What do you think of leaks?

Let me know in the comments below.

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