Exclusives and leaks. Again, I assume

Just today, EGM’s huge Halo 3-coverage got leaked before the mag even hit press. Naturally the usual forums flared up with speculation and coy “summaries” shortly after. It didn’t take long before CVG posted a “story” pretty much straight out of the leak. They do give credit to EGM and plug the issue, release date and all, but I still have to wonder how the gaming press on these boards feel about this?

My immediate feeling as an outsider is that it seems a bit unprofessional to start tearing meat off an exclusive story and serving it up in bite-sized pieces before a magazine has even hit stores. However, I’m not really aware of the inner workings of how leaks are dealt with, and this might very well be a genial plug to get more people to pick up the magazine come August.

Leaks are unstoppable once they are out there, and I can only imagine how tooth-grindingly frustrating it is to have a labored feature for a game with the significance of Halo 3 suddenly spill out on the net. I feel sorry for EGM’s staff over both the leak and the heat they’ll inevitably catch for this.


EDIT: I am magnificent spellar

It strikes me as massively unprofessional, but professionalism doesn’t seem to be a big concern these days. At least, not as big a concern as “first!”

Is this the leak Jeremy Parish is talking about?

http://www.gamespite.net has his thoughts.

Can’t imagine it being anything else. Thanks for the link.

Pretty lame indeed.

Didn’t someone at 1UP write a scathing critique of Square a while back for some retarded PR move it tried to pull? IIRC, what he said basically boiled down to: you can’t embargo public information, dumbasses.

This isn’t directly analogous - I think he was talking about English translations of info from Japanese publications or something like that - but it would seem to be the dark side to that statement: once the info’s out there, there’s no getting it back, regardless of how it got out in the first place.

Or, put another way, while you can criticize whoever leaked the info in the first place, once it’s out there, it would seem to be fair game.

There are two parts to this really, though I’m not quite sure which part we’re being so “coy” about here.

First is the leakage of the article itself, presumably by scans or a raw dump of the text. That’s definitely unacceptable, as at the very least it’s a violation of copyright and the employment contract of whoever leaked it.

There’s also the dissemination of the information in the article itself. That’s pretty much inevitable though, and would happen sooner or later, the leak just accelerates it a bit. Short of requiring everyone who buys the magazine to sign an NDA, you can’t stop people from talking about it, summarizing and rephrasing the same information from the article. It’s just an inherent disadvantage in the press-vs-net battle.

Yeah, there’s obviously no way to stop people from summarizing and talking about the info once it starts making the rounds. There’s nothing wrong with that, either, and frankly it’d be stupid to try to stop it even if you could – all you’re doing is drawing more interested people to your story, provided your content is well-written and interesting enough.

What really, really sucks is when (read: every month) some douche scans our book and puts it online. That’s a direct violation of our copyright, and it gives away all of the content we create for free. Fuck those people, seriously. That’s stealing and distributing someone else’s IP just like pirating a game is. This shit pays my bills (mostly, I am a journo, heh), and it pisses me off majorly when people steal it.

Especially when it’s from a “reputable” site. The bigger blogs, the Euro sites that always steal our stories, all those guys – they’re making money off of our content (driving traffic) while we get nothing. It’s bullshit.

What makes me laugh is when lower-tier sites copy-paste our stories and pretend that they’re their own work. It’s happened to me many times…reading a story about something and thinking, “hey, didn’t I write that? Yes I did, you fuckers!”

To directly address the OP, I don’t see any negatives about word of a cover story or other exclusive content getting out there early, outside of maybe pissing off the PR flak in charge of the game because they operate on timed info release plans. It’s when the story itself gets out online via scans or whatever that we get pissed.

On a good note, I got Games for Windows and PC Gamer in the mail today which feature Gears of Wars PC and Space Siege, respectively. I didn’t know about either of those games until fairly recently.

More importantly, does Halo 3 have 4 players on the same box (even if its multiplayer only and not necessarily 4-player coop)?



That always gets me… the site you’ve never heard of hawking a story that upon reading you realize is a complete Jason Blair. No specifics, the bits and pieces you’ve read elsewhere already. The generalities don’t disguise the fact that they’re paraphrasing and reproducing someone elses content but make it a dead giveaway that they were never in the room with the demo.

That’s true but it sucks when it happens before the magazine hits newstands.

It’s annoying. A while ago I had a similar experience: Eurogamer received subs copies of the mag in which the cover story was the Half-Life 2: Episode 1 announcement.

The really funny part was the first draft of the story called me a ‘hapless hack’. I can laugh about it now, mainly because we have a policy to deal with this stuff. Back then, I almost punched a hole in a door.

Mag publishers are getting savvier about this, though, and so are the PRs involved. The PRs know that the mag details get leaked almost instantly - but they daren’t blow their big online ‘exclusives’ with IGN and Gamespot. PC Gamer UK now posts most of its content online the day the issue goes on-sale - with hilarious results!