So, let’s talk about an issue that has actually been somewhat nagging myself and a lot of other gaming news websites out there. Quite simply they’re known as developers. Yes, I’m talking about video game developers.
Usually when these developers are trying to make promotional material for their upcoming video games, they are released to the press first, and then once released to the press the millions upon millions of internet gaming websites get a hold of the juicy details and post them up on their website to get the audience ready and hyped for this brand new release title. Usually the reaction of the typical video game fan can go either way, depending on what they’re into. “Oh my God, I can’t wait for this. Totally a day one buy from me” or “meh, couldn’t care about it”.
When a slip is accidentally made, a leak in an upcoming video game if you will, some developers will go out of their way to keep their big project a secret, but will not try and pull anything down. They understand the power of a public-forum fan driven, costless campaign is to help promote their big project on the way. Hell Duke Nukem forever did it for a near decade and was called vaporware until it was finally released to a piss-poor standard of today’s video games. But it made money, alot of money. Take-Two didn’t care if it was a game by 1997′s standards, it was already hyped up to the point of no return. So they let the project continue, why? Because they knew that dollar bill in their wallet was going to quadruple at the launch of the game, they obviously weren’t looking at the future of it, because they knew themselves it was crap before it was released, but it’s business, and it’s smart business. Point is, once this information is out there, and is on the Internet, there is no way of DMCA-ing your way out of it. It’s there forever.
Remember I said millions of websites not 20 or 30, you can’t find all of them. “The internet’s not written in pencil Mark, It’s written in ink”. The good thing here is that a lot of developers out there understand that once it’s out there, there’s pretty much no stopping the knowledge being dropped around the community and open forums from discussing the topic.
Crash Bandicoot Poster Leak in Vicarious Visions Office
Take for instance, the image shown above. About five to six months ago now, we had this poster pop-up on the internet due to a photo that was taken at Vicarious Visions Offices in New York. We had not heard of a new Crash Bandicoot game since Crash: Mind over mutant, and we all know how that turned out. It had been a while since we had seen the whacky Bandicoot look to form, since the PS2 cult classic, Crash Twinsanity. So you could imagine the excitement and jubilation that uproared in the gaming scene once we all saw this poster. It looked like old school Crash done right, with a little tweaking of course, but it looked good right?
Now once the image was leaked, and the story was spread like wildfire to those millions upon millions of gaming websites, Vicarious took the complete office picture down. The problem here though, was it was too late. The image was spread everywhere, forums were going nuts (especially Naughty Dogs own forum), rumors were rampant and it had people guessing whether or not this poster/game was legit.
Now we know Activision currently own all rights to Crash Bandicoot, and the last known game-in-development was Crash Team Racing 2010 by High Impact Games, but was cancelled by Activison due to “budgeting”. But nothing from Vicarious has been said about this one single poster, is there anything to be said yet? Who knows, it’s all speculation until E3 this year. Is it a PS4 game? a Wii U Game? We don’t know. All we know is that we have all seen this poster and it’s out there.
The one thing though is that Activision or Vicarious has not filed a DMCA on any website to take down this poster or the shot of it’s office. Why? Because it has now gotten people excited, people want to buy this game right away. It’s officially whet the appetite of all gamers alike, we want this Crash Bandicoot reboot, and Vicarious knows it. They know that our brains and the gamer public forum (Google/IGN/N4G/GoNintendo/etc.) have already made it’s own cash-free campaign and are readying their total exposure. Of course, if this is all hype for nothing, well then why take down the image in the first place? There’s obvious reasoning, and it’s obvious that it was the Crash poster. I did send an email to Vicarious for a statement earlier on in the year, but never got a response. Hopefully we’ll hear something at E3.
Whilst Vicarious are taking the smart route about this, there are other developers out there that will not let their big contracted moneyballed campaigns get ruined by little insignificant leaks that slip through the cracks. Of course, the main word I said there was not campaign, it was contracted. They fear the worst when gaming sites like ours are scraping, cleaning and sharing the residue of their already spilled beans.
What they don’t realize is that we are fans just like any other readers out there, and are not trying to hinder or hurt their campaign in any way, we are trying to help in every way possible to make games like this happen. If the corporate clunkheads on the top floor hear noise, they immediately think it’s money. And yes, we are trying to make you money. Not the opposite? We are intentionally giving you the heads up on that green paper that pays for all that time you spent on making these illustrious titles and we all understand the time and effort most developers put into making these games.
Of course, websites like ours (Dashhacks) are looked at like we’re the bad people, “they are the demons of the community, they condone piracy!”.. No we don’t! What? Because a few of us want to modify our consoles to run other homebrew based programs on our system that includes music, movies, and emulators? Oh, Hi PC you are reading this on and can do all of that already? I can understand your hesitation to have your stories on websites that do condone it and spread piracy like wildfire, but we here at Dashhacks do not condone it at all. We are a gaming news website delivering the news to YOUR target audience. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that a few times. Our partner sites do not condone it either and just the other day our sister site QJ.net received a takedown notice for posting leaked images of an upcoming game…by the way, the images were already posted all over the internet.
I’m pretty sure Apple aren’t too happy about all those iPhone/iPad jailbreak websites that are all over the internet, but hell they don’t run after all of them and tell them to take that information down! We do help promote homebrew, and the Custom Firmware that it runs on, but piracy? No that’s the other person’s choice to make, not ours. Websites like us are no different from Disney/Viacom’s IGN, they may have the million upon millions to fund and buyout the exclusives from developers, but we try our best as smaller based news websites to break the news too. And when the suits come along to try and DMCA us away, well then fairness is not an option here. Why wouldn’t they work with us instead of targeting the very people who are helping them promote their release…for free.
New Elder Scrolls footage leaked a month ago, let’s see how long this image lasts.
It’s more along the lines of, do you not want us to promote your games as gamers ourselves? Do you not want us to hype your games like they’re going to be the be-all-end-all of gaming and you should buy this as soon as it comes out? It’s a question that marketing divisions at gaming companies have to sit and ask themselves.
Now, we’re not talking about any developer specifically in this article, we’re just stating to the ones that do go around scowering the net, trying to find all this information that was accidentally leaked. Of course it would be front page news on the front of IGN if it were such major news, much like the Crash Bandicoot story was on IGN back in January.
I suppose that we will never understand the full story of why these developers do it, as mentioned, the big suits from the top floor will come down and ask the man in charge of development, “Why is this game already making news when we just spent a gajillion dollars to keep it under wraps until this campaign starts on radio, tv, and so on” (Nintendo, take notes there. Something you’re not doing). These big wigs have to realize that websites like ours are now THE major platform for reveals like these. Hell, their own twitter accounts are the place to spill the gasoline, and let websites like ours catch and spread it like a bushfire. And guess what? It’s a free platform. Then you can spend your Daddy’s company money on making TV and Radio Campaigns, let us be first damnit! We, the gamers are the demographic, the stereotype (as much as I hate to say it) are always at the helm of social networking readying ourselves these days, for that next big game blowout to suddenly appear on websites likes the aforementioned. Why are you trying to take it away like that? So I end it like this;
Dear Game Developer/Publisher,
Stop selling your games to the wrong crowd. No one watches TV, people listen to the radio for music or news. We, the gaming news community want to help you, the developer & publisher sell your hard work. We feel cheated out when you take that ability from us with your DMCA’s and your big wig corporate lawyer talk. We are not here to hinder, but to help. Let us help.
Gamers, just like you.
P.S. Help Nintendo out will you? They really need some sort of campaign to sell their stuff, because I don’t think at this point we can help them.