Are Announcement Leaks Spoilers for You?

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Posted by deckard (364 posts) 2 months, 10 days ago

Poll: Are Announcement Leaks Spoilers for You? (124 votes)

Yes - I look forward to game announcements and it lessens the experience and excitement for me. 21%
No - treating game announcements like precious commodities is dumb and perpetuates the game industry's ridiculous addiction to secrecy. 55%
I don't mind either way - what matters is if the game is good when it's actually released. 24%

With all the E3 leaks coming out days before the big press conferences, the age-old question returns: are announcement leaks considered "spoilers"? I personally think they're not - I'm not the first person to say this, but the game industry's continual attachment to secrecy gets more and more out of touch by the day. We hear about movie announcement years ahead of time and people still get excited to see the trailer or actually see it in theaters. And let's be honest and call E3 game announcements (or any game announcement for that matter) what they really are: they're advertisements. Being disappointed by having a game announcement leak and "spoiling" the reveal is the same as being bummed if USA Today reveals the content of a new Budweiser ad days before the Super Bowl.

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#1 Edited by Pezen (2388 posts) -

While I agree with your overall sentiment, I feel like I am currently living in an age where everything is known all the time to the point of utter boredom. I don't think I have played a game in years I didn't already know how it would play or feel before playing it. That has been both good and bad, the good is I buy less games on chance that I end up disliking. While the bad is that most games come as completely known quantities. But I sometimes miss the element of surprise and E3 was one of those momens growing up where news came out and I was soaking in all the surprises and news. Getting excited for the future of games. Knowing most if not all of the announcements before they are made takes a lot of the edge off.

I mean, think about the reaction to Cuphead. I would have still thought that game looked cool as hell had I seen it before E3, but it showing up briefly in a sizzle reel out of nowhere really blew me away at the time. Would I call knowing it all before a presentation a spoiler, not really. But as said, it would take the edge off and not be entirely as exctiting to watch either way.

But, I also grew up really liking it when bands I liked started teasing the new album with an image and a piece of a song. While I get why some people think secrecy is stupid, I think there's an art to it as it relates to the entertainment and the theatre of it all that I enjoy. I don't need everything in my life to read like an educational instruction manual.

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#2 Posted by fisk0 (6952 posts) -

I guess I agree with the sentiment of B, but voted C because I don't really care enough - kinda only watch E3 coverage because Giant Bomb is covering it, not because of what's getting announced or whatever.

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#3 Posted by Rejizzle (1136 posts) -

That second option really speaks to me, but to be honest I don't actually care either way.

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#4 Posted by TheChris (549 posts) -

Nope. I feel equating the gaming industry with film is part of the issue, is what marketing has trained us too, to be excited for E3. With movie trailers though you’ll generally always be shown what the movie will look like, even if it is edited, whereas video games can change drastically from the very first trailer to its release.

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#5 Edited by nutter (2287 posts) -

I prefer to be surprised when I watch an E3 conference. I guess they’re a stupid ceremony that I dig in the way some get into red carpet events.

I generally don’t keep up with E3 news outside of what I hear on podcasts and what I see from stage shows.

I’m one of these folks that hates spoilers, but I also avoid social media (because it’s an insipid hellscape, not to avoid spoilers), so it’s usually not a huge deal.

Spoilers to me are things that are meant to be big surprises, that I care about, which is super hard to define, so I can’t be mad about E3 spoilers.

Plot stuff bugs me. If it’s a game where plot is clearly not the focus (say, anything Clancy, these days), whatever. If there’s a bug twist, reveal, story beat in a Witcher game, or something story-focused that actually tries to tell a story, I’d like to avoid it AND AS A RESULT, WON’T GOOGLE IT AND HOP INTO THREADS LIKE A FOOL. It works pretty well.

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#6 Posted by Efesell (4563 posts) -

I'm pretty set in my belief that the only thing that can be considered a spoiler is a significant plot detail and I honestly don't even care about those.

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#7 Posted by pnd (14 posts) -

Leaks don't bother me, but I would prefer being surprised with the official reveal.

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#8 Posted by TheHT (15875 posts) -

No, but not because I think treating game announcements like precious commodities is dumb or anything like that.

I recognize that it's fun to have the big reveal during a conference or something, but the conference just isn't that important to me for me to think of it as something that's spoilable. If I did care about going into something like that and enjoying being surprised by stuff, then it's on me to avoid headlines and forums because conventionally, "spoiling" an announcement isn't a big deal.

Someone can make the argument that spoilers apply to stories, and a press conference is a sort of story, or the big announce is a part of the story of a games development, but I'm unconvinced that the process should be included in the constitution of spoilers.

The whole concept of a spoiler, as far as I'm concerned, is to say "this story leads you down a particular experiential path that is most effective when following that path." It's far from a universal fact, but I've had enough good experiences being led by a narrative that I at least get it in the context of stories, even if sometimes for somethings I just don't give a fuck and a spoiler is likely to actually get me interested (because who has the time to give everything a shot).

I don't see how a presentation of game announcements might be of similar kind. I see how it might on the surface be analogous, but with a narrative (or progression of game mechanics, or whatever) it's part and parcel to what's being offered: an experience. With a press conference, what's essentially being offered is information. Maybe lately we might say there's a push to create experiences out of press conferences (or at least to create experiences for a more general audience), but it seems it we were to say anything beyond information was being pushed, we couldn't go much further than hype.

Which is where the business aspect of these things comes to the fore, and we see the difference in kind between a presser being spoiled and a point about the progression of the experience within particular work (plot point, game mechanic, etc.) being spoiled. The former is a way of directing hype towards their products, the latter is internal to the product. Like, screenshots are more of a spoiler than an announcement, but not really because out of context you'd have no sense of how what you're seeing relates to the progression of the experience.

TL;DL no because announcements are just business shit outside of the game in question. if I'm feeling frisky and want to "experience" a press conference in its "purest" form, then that shit's on me. no one should try to stop me, but i shouldn't expect anyone else to help.

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#9 Edited by Gundato (330 posts) -

In general, I don't care. They probably are spoilers, but I generally don't care too much about spoilers in the first place. Yeah, t is a carefully formatted sequence to sell a product. What do you think a Marvel movie is?

A year or two back it was really cool to see that From Software teaser for Sekiro. But it was also pointless. The fact that people couldn't tell if it was Bloodborne or Sousl and how little context or impact it had made it basically ARG levels of relevance.

The more interesting aspect is what was mentioned with respect to seeing a game you didn't know about during a sizzle reel. And that inherently can't be spoiled, at least for me.

For me, it isn't "oh cool, someone is making a game called Guacamelee". It isn't even "Yo man, that game is gorgeous". It is seeing a game in action that I had somehow completely missed and realizing it is gorgeous and right up my alley. Its the same reason I watch at least the first few minutes of every Quick Look on this site. Sometimes I can see a game dozens of times but it is that twenty second highlight reel that makes me realize it is "good shit"

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#10 Posted by Humanity (18938 posts) -

It definitely lessens the excitement but it's not a deal breaker.

I mean we wait all year to watch this press conference and then see .. BANDAI NAMCO on the Microsoft stage and you're like "oh shit what is THIS?!" and then they show it and I think it's cool to be in chat and feel the excitement.

Not as cool when the logo comes up and everyone already knows what it is - especially if they don't show any gameplay.

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#11 Edited by NTM (11871 posts) -

While I love being surprised, if a site like say, GameSpot puts up a news story that says 'here's the leaked games' or whatever, I can't help myself and I'll take a look anyway. So, I don't care that much because I just want to know what games are coming, but yeah being surprised is nice. When I do see leaks though, all I think when I see the show is 'yeah, great, where is THAT game' or whatever. I'm definitely a little less excited and less patient.

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#12 Edited by BaneFireLord (3570 posts) -

I have no problem with sites posting leaks and don't consider them "spoilers", but I'm generally less excited than I would be if I saw stuff completely fresh, especially if it was supposed to be A Big Surprise (for instance, I'll be pretty bummed if the leaked From game was initially supposed to be Microsoft's showstopper a la Cyberpunk last year). I'll read headlines, but if I'm genuinely interested in a leaked game I'll try to avoid actually looking at leaked footage or screenshots in order to see it in the proper context initially.

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#13 Posted by MindBullet (711 posts) -

I think Jason Schreier summed my feelings on it.

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#14 Posted by MerxWorx01 (883 posts) -

Not even in the slightest. Being upset that you found out about a commercial product early and didn't get the full force of a publisher's engagement strategy is really strange to me.

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#15 Posted by Zeik (5221 posts) -

I'd prefer to find out during the conferences, so I don't seek out leaks, but if I see one then whatever. No big deal.

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#16 Posted by glots (4382 posts) -

It'd be nice to see all that stuff for the first time during the conferences, but whatever, they're still just title leaks at best and there'll still be official reveals with videos and stuff. I could also basically skip most of those leaks if I just didn't use Twitter for a week.

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#17 Posted by Pezen (2388 posts) -

@mindbullet: Someone that publish leaks and has a vested interest in keeping readers around would think it would be bad if more people found leaks to be spoilers. Jason want people to read his leaks, companies want to have a PR campaign, at the end of the day neither is particularly altruistic in nature.

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#18 Posted by Prince_of_Space (113 posts) -

IMO leaks, especially in the immediate runup to E3, have only a transitory significance. Once a game is 'officially' announced, any notions of either disappointment or satisfaction of getting a peak behind the curtain will subside. Will anyone care about the "Elden Ring" leak a week from now?

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#19 Posted by devise22 (744 posts) -

One of the things that bugs me about this conversation is how it appears those who view it as spoilers are viewed as petty or corporate shills. Like yes...we all know that these are just giant ads in a theater. We all know that E3 is a bunch of dumb fun and devs/publishers could totally find other ways to get that information out if E3 was no more.

But I hate the idea that these leaks should have to be reported on because they are "leaks." So if we all agree E3 is a big dumb presentation of ads meant to build hype around games that Devs themselves invest themselves into (taking time off the game to make trailers, demo's some show up etc.) then why do we care about leaking it? Like literally if your stance is E3 is just a big corporate stage of ads, then shouldn't leaking it mean nothing?

To me it feels like your parents when you were a kid putting a list of the gifts you got in plain site written on the fridge. Your still going to get them, it doesn't really change anything. But why spoil the fun for no other reason than clicks? The irony that those supporting the "leak" side take a very anti corporate stance is funny to me because those journalists are working for corporations demanding them to release those leak articles just the same, for the same damn end purpose.

The difference there though is these journalists and leakers are biggpy packing off the hard work and time the devs and publishers took to try to play it and have fun. Can you imagine if MGS2 was spoiled before E3? "Yo it's a fake, you play as Raiden not Snake." Yeah that doesn't ruin any of the mystery or allure or build up or anything else Kojima was doing. Ultimately for me I think it comes down to, the issue isn't a leak or a spoiler individually. Whatever, we are all adults we aren't going to fight or throw a tantrum because something meaningless was spoiled for us. But I stress again, why does leaking or spoiling this shit matter if we all agree it's cultural significance is relatively low? Who the hell is the petty one here? Those of us agreeing that E3 and leaks don't matter but wishing to go in spoiler free for fun anyways, or those who seek out leaks and sharing them as some crusade to prove the thing (E3 in this instance) doesn't matter?

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#20 Edited by BladeOfCreation (1405 posts) -

No, but I do think that leaked announcements--and some games media writers' assertions that early announcements or leaks are "journalism"--are a bad thing. On the one hand, journalists have no loyalty to corporate timetables and marketing strategies. On the other hand, I also think that it's incredibly shitty and selfish for writers to publish stories about leaked games before the games are announced. It's not something that is in the interest of the public, and I'd be pretty pissed if I worked on some art for years only to have some website post about it before I was ready to share it.

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#21 Posted by MindBullet (711 posts) -

@pezen: I'm not saying Schreier or anyone reporting on leaks are 'good guys' or anything, only that I agree with the idea that thinking of said reporting as shameful or that it 'spoils' a marketing campaign doesn't really do anyone any good. Marketing campaigns are going to market and reporters are going to report. That's all it is.

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#22 Posted by tds418 (509 posts) -

I would strongly disagree with the idea that reporting on games before they are not announced is not in the interest of the public. In fact, it's probably the opposite. Announcements will hype and spin a game whether it is deserved or not, whereas reporters are more likely to just report facts. Sure it's "selfish" in that they are looking for clicks, but big companies are just as selfish in looking to make as much money as possible on their products. It's business.

Anyway, to answer the poll, no.

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#23 Posted by Captain_Insano (3531 posts) -

I mean, it's fun to watch a press conference and have a genuine surprise. But they also often overpromise and it's all marketing anyway so, whatever.

I like good games.

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#24 Edited by hnke (189 posts) -

Man, that is the most pathetic thing I have ever heard.

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#25 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4498 posts) -

I do realize i tend to not seek out the information even if it's a click away and read less game news lately. But at the same time i don't flip my shit if i do see it come up. I just like to hang out in chat /discord and see everyone go crazy because they're remaking Earthbound or something. It's not often you get to see a bunch of people be happy together on the internet so i take what i can get.

Personally i do think it's sort of pointless & not newsworthy or journalistic to tell people which game is going to be announced a few hours before we all get to see it.

I am surprised by Jason Schreier's tweet in this thread when he said this half a year ago regarding to Rocksteady's next game. Leaking games when the official announcement is a few hours away is a story that will get told anyway. It's something that will cause pain to those that want to surprise, something that Jason expressed to feel bad about in this post. So the only difference between these situations is that this time he is 100% certain it's real & he won't spread misinformation. Sure, hype & marketing can catch people offguard and they might spin the game as something that it's not. By all means, report on the story that they are not telling on stage, like he did with Fallout 76 when they were not telling the whole story while asking for preorders. But announcement leaks are just for the clicks, so him framing it like he's a man of the people taking a stand against the big corporations is pretty laughable to me. Also what happened to this event that resonated with Jason?

Jason: I think more and more, at least I personally have tried to find more of a balance, and swing back a little the other way. My mentality used to be more like, ‘If I know something I should share it with readers,’ and it’s evolved over the years to the point where it doesn’t feel like I should be sharing everything just for the sake of ruining a surprise, and I would rather share the things that matter and focus on stories that aren’t just about what people are going to find out anyway. I’ve become a little less radical when it comes to this sort of transparency.

So like, before For Honor was announced, someone sent me a whole bunch of details on it. It was code-named Hero, it was Ubisoft’s big IP, and I didn’t know what to do about that. I talked to Stephen [Totilo] about it for a while, and eventually we decided to sit on it. After the game was announced, mostly leak-free, some time after that I was talking to a developer on that game who was like to me, ‘Man, it was one of the best moments of my life just getting to see that reveal and knowing it hadn’t been leaked out before, and knowing we got to surprise and delight everybody.’ Something like that really resonated me, and I think it does mean a little bit more than just the marketing plan. I could give a fuck about the marketing plan. But the fact that spoiling the surprise, just for the sake of giving information to people that they’ll get anyway, might really ruin people’s day who don’t deserve their day ruined, that really resonated with me.

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#26 Edited by mellotronrules (2623 posts) -

no. granted even proper plot 'spoilers' don't carry much importance with me either, because the how isso much more important than the what.

but knowledge of the existence of a product isn't something that can be spoiled for me. i have zero regard for marketing spends- i just care if the product you're selling is worth my time.