As a video game journalism platform we always have to make a tough choice. Do we go ahead and publish that juicy bit of unverified, leaked and possibly made up story and rake in thousands of views. Or do we write a story that is official, verified and landed on everyone’s Twitter page hours ago? Whatever we choose, unrewarding integrity versus rewarding exclusivity, it leaves us with a bitter aftertaste. So what should one do when leakers and data mining have ruined the anticipation of it all?
Take Modern Warfare for example. Many fans of the latest Call of Duty were intrigued by the recent Battle Royale teaser. But it was just that, a teaser suggesting the game mode is coming. No additional information was published, and yet many popular video game websites had ample information to write about. In the past week, so many ‘leaks’ and estimates were published about the supposed release date. The truth is though, no one knows, aside from the official developers and insiders .
But leaks and data miners still feed information to media, corrupting the entire process of getting excited for a game. I remember just a few years ago, my buddies and I got together to watch the Battlefield 1 announcement trailer. There was some speculation as to what setting the game would take place, but we didn’t know.
Nowadays, it’s rare not to know almost every little detail about a game, weeks or even months before it is officially announced. And therefore, the period leading up to the big crescendo that is the announcement trailer
isn’t there anymore.
Inflatable hype train
For developers and publishers, the reliance of media on leaks and data mining has made it impossible to build up hype using something as rudimentary as a trailer. Instead, publishers use leaks to their advantage; I would even guess that major companies leak information themselves as part of the overall marketing strategy. But that is a speculative statement that I can’t prove, so the least we should do is be transparent about that, right?
Look no further than our beloved Apex Legends for proof though. The free-to-play battle royale was a sudden smash hit, a bolt from the blue, right? Nope, EA and Respawn Entertainment kept information flow tight leading up to the release and then forced the hype. For example, they paid Ninja a million bucks to play the game on launch day. That definitely got the hype going.
So media outlets publish speculative crap while developers artificially inflate and manipulate hype to compensate for that. Where does that leave us, the game enthusiasts? Completely desensitized to everything being released. Just think about the last time you were completely obsessed with a game pre-launch. Did you put the release date of the announcement trailer on your calendar? Did you stay up all night just to watch it?
The intrigue is gone
Realistically, the exciting pre-launch, the anticipation leading up to a games announcement, is kinda ruined by leaks and data mining. Nothing surprises us anymore. Of course, we’re involved with that type of information because we provide a news service ourselves. But even before we started on this endeavor, games’ hype was starting to feel dull.
We’re not going to change the way the gaming community – publishers, gamers, media – are conducting business by writing a strongly worded article. All we can do is focus on the good stuff and accept that we have to disregard many leaked stories for integrity’s sake. That is our stance on a ‘new type’ of games journalism. But of course, we’re doing this for you guys. So what is your take on leaks and data mining? Should we invest our time in unverified leaks or do you prefer the surprise? Let us know in the comments.
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