EarlyGame Talk: Shocking leak! Come and read!
Get a snack, sip on that coffee, kick back and relax. It’s time for our EarlyGame Talk.
A word so meaningful and so versatile. See, I say "leaks" and you don’t know yet if I’m talking about my body's behavior after my last food poisoning, Kim Kardashian’s source of fame, Snowden, video games, Hilary Clinton’s emails or The Fappening. Everything is possible (no, we don’t collect Nike checks for plugs).
By virtue of elimination, we can arrive at a conclusion though: Kim K and The Fappening do not fall within our EarlyGame PG realm. Snowden and Hilary are too political and though this is a personal column, I have no intention to write about my bodily food poison leaks from January. Maybe another time, when content gets dire.
So, yes, you guessed it, you little Sherlock, you: We’re talking about video game leaks. This is a gaming site after all, but it was a nice little opening paragraph, wasn’t it? So take the above, pick whatever visual gets you in the mood and let’s jump into this EarlyGame Talk:
Ever since Mr.Robot, everybody knows how hacking works and ever since the dawn of mobile data and smartphones everybody’s been hacked. That racial tweet? Wasn’t me. That inappropriate selfie? Wasn’t me. Those drunk messages? Wasn’t me. Everybody’s out here sounding like a broken Shaggy record from '99 and is using the same scapegoat: The evil hacker.
Really, though, this isn’t something new – it’s just a continuation of what we’ve all long been guilty of: Texting your crush something random or risqué, only to claim “wrong chat lol”. In 2020, that just changed to “got hacked lol”. All the while we’re sitting there fully aware that we did this of our volition. Nobody hacked you. You leaked that tape to get famous, Kim! And that food poisoning – you knew what you were doing eating that old pizza, Amidu, don’t blame the leaks on someone else!
So, we're 270-odd words in without mentioning a game and yet you already know my opinion on video game leaks... this is a writer’s gift.
The marketing method that started as spicy bedroom VHS tapes in the early 90s has now infested the video game industry via social media: No, Activision, that Call of Duty Warzone leak wasn’t a leak – you knew that packaging it as such would create headlines and attention. Even we’re writing about it on here. I mean, how does every big video game have a leak before every big announcement? Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t buy it. "Leak", you say? "Fake news", I scream – and build my presidential campaign around that, but I digress…
Or am I jumping the gun and there more to this? There are two sides to every coin and a good journalist does his research... so let’s dig deeper:
I consider myself a well-educated man and by that, I mean that I watch short, two-minutes-or-less videos of celebrities feeding me "wisdom" that I buy into because they have the looks, charm and articulation to convey it to me in a way that it remains memorable. There, I admitted it. One of these moments of wisdom came a while back, by the way of Mr. Denzel Washington:
“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read it, you’re misinformed. What is the long-term effect of too much information? One of the effects is the need to be first, not even to be true anymore [...] We live in a society where it’s "just first, who cares, get it out there, we don’t care who it hurts, we don’t care who it destroys, we don’t care if it’s true, just say it, sell it."
So maybe there’s another truth to these leaks: They’re actual leaks. They’re employees getting caught up in our culture of attention-seeking. These people have something to say and, dammit, they will say it for their 15 seconds of fame. If it sells, they will say it. And it does sell: I mean, we’re eating this stuff up. We’re reporting on it, reading about it, tweeting about, discussing it on reddit, discussing it with friends. We love gossip and leaks are nothing but another form of that.
Whatever the origin, the outcome is always the same: Leaks generate attention. Be it for the one who wrongfully leaked information or the one who did so on purpose. Sometimes, that attention hurts people. Sometimes, that happens within our realm of video games, where it recently hurt The Last of Us 2 developers who worked hard on an emotional storyline, only to have it leaked by a selfish employee seeking attention.
Who’s to blame, though? The leaker or the consumer? Supply and demand – without demand, there will be no supply.
Thus, I will end this EarlyGame Talk on an unexpected note: Let’s do like Michael Jackson did and start with the man in the mirror.