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ann coulter

Spoiler culture and E3 - where do you stand?

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Over 24 hours before Microsoft's E3 conference is due to begin, several of its high profile announcements have leaked, with numerous twitterers and journalists promising more leaks in the hours ahead. Some unhappy gamers are complaining that these leaks have spoiled the surprise and to some degree ruined their E3 experience.

 

A relatively prominent games journalist at Kotaku has taken to Twitter to defend such leaks in the run up to E3, imploring: "...please don't let billion dollar corporate marketing convince you that it's a 'spoiler' to know about a game announcement two days before you're supposed to - makes for an unhealthy culture, really."

 

While there's no question that E3 is an exercise in generating hype, consumer interest and ultimately profit, who gets to decide what is announced and when? And does it make a difference when a company's ultimate goal is to make money from its audience?

 

The leaker's argument is that he or she provides a service - information in advance, saving the gamer the time and effort of watching an announcement conference. Is this really such a huge benefit to the gamer, though? Articles exposing the poor working conditions and morally questionable business practices of certain publishers and developers are clearly important and useful, and even news about cancelled projects and staff departures serves a purpose useful to gamers, informing them of news they wouldn't otherwise know. But the leaking of a game's announcement mere hours in advance seems to benefit the individual leaker - publicity, reputation, clicks - more than the gamer, who knows a few hours sooner what he or she would have known anyway.

 

There's a certain irony, too - hypocrisy, even - when a writer for a multimillion dollar corporation, whose ultimate purpose is to make money from its readers, criticises gamers for letting multibillion dollar corporations manipulate them for attention.

 

And why stop at spoiling announcements? The purpose not just of the announcement but of the announced product itself is to make money, and, if such a nefarious motivation deserves thwarting at all costs, why not spoil - in article headlines, tweets and forum thread titles - major plot points of games, films and TV series a few hours before release?

 

Perhaps, in the end, the responsibility not to be spoiled is that of the gamer. If they want to stay in the E3 dark, they should avoid the internet in the run up to the event.

 

Or perhaps the problem here is not that of the spoiler-conscious gamer who wants to enjoy surprises on their own terms, but that of the person who enjoys the psychological power of holding and distributing information both to those who desperately want to know and to those who desperately don't - whether games journalist, Twitter leaker or colleague who gleefully imparts the ending of Game of Thrones to the whole office the day it's due to air.

 

What say you, rllmuk?

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To flip the question around, why would it matter if you read about a new game as a sentence instead of seeing it at a conference? Surely what’s exciting about e3 is all the new games being announced, not literally watching the conference and trying to avoid spoilers for it?

 

The conferences are pretty shit. If I can’t stay up I literally never watch them, just the trailers for the games. The only reason we’re watching is because they are the first place we can hear this news, that’s why they’re exciting. If we can hear this news sooner from someone else, what difference does it make?

 

This reminds me of a friend of mine who never watches movie trailers anymore, because he wants to preserve the experience of the film. It’s a nice idea but the practical upshot is that he’s constantly disappointed because he has no idea what to expect.

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4 minutes ago, Broker said:

To flip the question around, why would it matter if you read about a new game as a sentence instead of seeing it at a conference? Surely what’s exciting about e3 is all the new games being announced, not literally watching the conference and trying to avoid spoilers for it?

Yeah, this.

 

It's just information about new stuff coming out. Doesn't matter who it comes from or it when. If anything, I'd have thought the earlier the better.

 

And how many of these 'leaks' are unintentional anyway? Perhaps they're part of the publicity drive. If you're that bothered, stop hanging around game sites for a few days before the event.

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2 minutes ago, Broker said:

To flip the question around, why would it matter if you read about a new game as a sentence instead of seeing it at a conference? Surely what’s exciting about e3 is all the new games being announced, not literally watching the conference and trying to avoid spoilers for it?

 

The conferences are pretty shit. If I can’t stay up I literally never watch them, just the trailers for the games. The only reason we’re watching is because they are the first place we can hear this news, that’s why they’re exciting. If we can hear this news sooner from someone else, what difference does it make?

 

This reminds me of a friend of mine who never watches movie trailers anymore, because he wants to preserve the experience of the film. It’s a nice idea but the practical upshot is that he’s constantly disappointed because he has no idea what to expect.

 

Disclaimer: I have not watched a live E3 conference for years as I find them utterly cringe-worthy. I do, however, watch Nintendo's pre-recorded E3 directs if I manage get home in time.

 

The answer to your question, very basically, is that surprise is fun. And the manner in which surprise is delivered can make a huge difference to the pleasure of it. I regard shite like Game of Thrones with the same dismissive contempt that, say, GamesGamesGames above regards games conferences, but, while it wouldn't bother me personally to read a major spoiler about the final episode in a news headline or Twitter post, I can understand why a fan would prefer the build up and shared experience of watching it live, even though the end result - acquiring knowledge - is the same.

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I really don’t think spoiling the plot points of a long running narrative is similar to reading a press release online instead of hearing Phil Spencer say it. In one scenario the plot is the literal point of the show, whereas the point of these games is to play them, not to experience the reveal of them. I understand why people enjoy that, but given that the whole point of e3 is to talk and hear about new games I’m not really concerned about how I hear that stuff, because it doesn’t ruin the point of e3, which is to hear about new games.

 

If George RR Martin announced that his next book was finished on twitter instead of having a reveal event I wouldn’t mind, but if he decided to just dump the plot points on Twitter I’d probably be less bothered about reading the book.

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39 minutes ago, tnman said:

Take the impact of Sony’s God of War reveal - that was so special!

 

Really? I mean, special?

 

Fair enough if it was, but that makes me wonder what words we have left for so many other moments.

 

34 minutes ago, Eighthours said:

I like going into these things and seeing surprises, so leaks are a shame but they happen and that’s that. 

 

Don't get me wrong it's always nice to have a pleasant surprise, but isn't a post online linking to whatever the thing is not that much different from the in-the-moment conference airing?

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Knowing a game is in development is different from seeing a trailer.

 

Movies are announced well in advance, we get casting info, directors, studios, set photos, etc. But they still manage to make a trailer dropping a shared "event" in the same way with post-release discussion and dissection, so I don't think leaks affect much.

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55 minutes ago, Broker said:

To flip the question around, why would it matter if you read about a new game as a sentence instead of seeing it at a conference? Surely what’s exciting about e3 is all the new games being announced, not literally watching the conference and trying to avoid spoilers for it?

 

The whole point of E3 is it's a one off event each year to showcase each companies new content, What's the point in holding the event if everything is just shown in a bullet point doc a day before the event happens? Fair enough if games outlets can get exclusives on new games throughout the year but why race to the bottom to spoil something that's planned to happen anyway?

 

If people don't look forward to it that's a different thing entirely. There's always going to be people who immediate declare it cringe within three minutes of the thing starting.

 

On another point I'm not sure who the worst industry journo Jason Schreier thinks he's saving by pointing out a conference for selling games only exists to make companies money so any leaks are not spoilers. Let's make up our own minds on that one. I don't need a dick from Kotaku to tell me how to enjoy something or be concerned where my money goes.

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8 minutes ago, Revival said:

On another point I'm not sure who the worst industry journo Jason Schreier thinks he's saving by pointing out a conference for selling games only exists to make companies money so any leaks are not spoilers. Let's make up our own minds on that one. I don't need a dick from Kotaku to tell me how to enjoy something or be concerned where my money goes.

 

So he should stick to regurgitating press releases rather than reporting about the workings of the industry or commenting on its idiosyncrasies? :rolleyes:

 

The real question is why the games industry can't keep it's trailers etc. under wraps in order to facilitate surprise reveals? The movie industry manage to drop trailers without having shown them to a room full of people a week in advance who record it and stick it on 4chan or reddit.

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2 minutes ago, Phil said:

 

So he should stick to regurgitating press releases rather than reporting about the workings of the industry or commenting on its idiosyncrasies? :rolleyes:

 

He can report the inner working of the industry no problem, It's not his job to spoil a once yearly event that gamers may choose to watch in it's entirety for entertainment.

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I suppose it all depends on whether you treat E3 as a big information-releasing operation, or as a sort of big crazy performance with plot twists and surprises. I think they could avoid this if they just committed fully to making E3 a literal circus.

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At least when Homer spoiled the end of Empire  he was just an idiot and not doing it for clicks. I'm amazed that MS have kept a lid on anything up to this point with the amount of envy from PlayStation fanbase and media that will be swirling around right now. All those E3 is irrelevant assholes.

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I don't think Schreier is the source of these leaks though? These are things that were leaked to reddit, 4chan, twitter etc.

 

Sites like Kotaku, Polygon etc. are highly dependent on ad revenue. I imagine that they have no interest in leaking stuff themselves - the first time sure (extra cash!), but after that you'd be screwed because it would impact their relationships with publishers and developers. They presumably benefit from the huge amount of traffic E3 must generate for them as gamers visit their sites to find out more from the associated press releases and closed door showings.

 

When stuff has leaked via other channels (these things were all over Twitter and other places before being reported by mainstream sites) then Kotaku, Polygon etc. are just trying to keep up to maintain their share of the market.

 

The problem with E3 is there are so many organisations involved in the build up to this once-a-year event (platform holders, publishers, developers, retailers, websites, venues, marketing agencies and more) that the potential for leaks is massive versus just dropping a trailer on the unsuspecting public throughout the year.

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I don't think a trailer like this works as intended (to coyly suggest one thing then unveil another) if everyone knows in advance what the trailer is for (timestamped accordingly):

 

 

Dumping a spreadsheet of forthcoming games on a website doesn't really have the same impact, which of course makes no odds to someone on whom that kind of trailer has no impact in the first place. It does rather call into question the point of E3 presentations at all, though. Would it be just as exciting, then (no sarcasm here, genuinely asking) for publishers to state weeks in advance of E3 all the games they're bringing, and to share online any trailer as and when its final edit is completed, and for E3 to be an event exclusively for demoing and previewing games rather than announcing and unveiling them? That seems to be the logical conclusion of that point of view if whole presentations and unveilings are going to be disseminated by random individuals before the event starts anyway.

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Of course Kotaku will justify leaking but this idea that it's some sort of anti-corporate stance is nonsense when it's clearly for their own benefit. (It's also a fucking laugh considering Kotaku has corporate backing too.)

 

I haven't watched an E3 presentation for years either, preferring to let news sites and forum threads pan for the gold for me instead. Whether that's before or after the conference had taken place is of no interest or consequence to me but it'd be preferable if it wasn't spoilt for the people who are genuinely excited about it.

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I think spoilers are fine if you're sceptical, because you can just treat everything as rumour and be pleasantly surprised if something turns out to be real. "So I heard that in 2015 Sony will reveal The Last Guardian, announce an FFVII remake and give stage presence to the Shenmue 3 kickstarter" - yeah, okay mate.

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The only purpose and entertainment of these big industry reveal events is the element of anticipation and the moment of surprise. Tension and release. That's the primary value and it does make for some excitement. It's little more than that, it's not high art but IT FUCKING IS WHAT IT FUCKING IS

 

And so I've literally no idea why anyone would look to puncture others' excitement besides attention, clicks and - ultimately - their own individual compensation. There's zero principle behind it, nor does it have anything to do with press freedom, that's transparently bullshit. It's entirely self-serving, so I'd prefer if Jason S et al had the journalistic integrity to acknowledge that. 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Phil said:

 

So he should stick to regurgitating press releases rather than reporting about the workings of the industry or commenting on its idiosyncrasies? :rolleyes:

 

I dealt with this in the very first post:

 

1 hour ago, ann coulter said:

Articles exposing the poor working conditions and morally questionable business practices of certain publishers and developers are clearly important and useful, and even news about cancelled projects and staff departures serves a purpose useful to gamers, informing them of news they wouldn't otherwise know. But the leaking of a game's announcement mere hours in advance seems to benefit the individual leaker - publicity, reputation, clicks - more than the gamer, who knows a few hours sooner what he or she would have known anyway.

 

I understand he isn't directly leaking in this instance, but he's arguing in favour of it.

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1 hour ago, GamesGamesGames said:

 

Really? I mean, special?

 

Fair enough if it was, but that makes me wonder what words we have left for so many other moments.

 

A friend at work likes to collect rocks and minerals and she thinks her collection is special.

 

I don’t stick my nose up at her enjoyment of that.

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11 minutes ago, tnman said:

 

A friend at work likes to collect rocks and minerals and she thinks her collection is special.

 

I don’t stick my nose up at her enjoyment of that.

 

Rightly so. She's probably put a lot of work into her collection.

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2 hours ago, Revival said:

 

The whole point of E3 is it's a one off event each year to showcase each companies new content, What's the point in holding the event if everything is just shown in a bullet point doc a day before the event happens? Fair enough if games outlets can get exclusives on new games throughout the year but why race to the bottom to spoil something that's planned to happen anyway?

 

The point is is to announce new games. Or in this case take the opportunity to get very upset and precious about seeing an advert exactly when a company wants you to. 

 

57 minutes ago, The Mighty Ash said:

I think its unfair to not allow the team who have worked on a project to announce it. 

 

You think the creative people making games (other than Kojima) have any say in what trailers go out and when? The only person you’re being unfair on here is the people planning out a Microsoft press conference, which will still happen and be enjoyed by people regardless of leaks.

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I just try to avoid the news at the moment as I genuinely enjoy the shows and the reveals. Same as I do with games, films and TV series that I don't want spoiled. 

 

There is obviously going to be a lot of people who like seeing spoilers before the reveals, but thats up to them. No one forces people to go onto news websites a few days before e3 and see this stuff though if they don't want to. 

 

Saying that, I completely disagree with people who are saying that it's just an advert that we are watching when the marketing bods want us to. This isn't about the latest release of a new Domestos formula, or the newest Papa johns delivery offers. The games that are getting show off for the first time are things that we will spend a lot of our leisure time using at some point in the future, and something that a lot of people are really looking forward to. So it's OK to be a bit precious about it. I recently sat and watched 2 Persona concerts (which were great in their own right) to catch an trailer (or advert) for 2 new Persona games at the end, and for me that was exciting and interesting because I have invested a lot of time in that franchise in the past, and I'll be spending a shedload of time on these games in the future.

 

Short version. If people want to release spoilers, fine. But make sure you highlight that it is a spoiler. If you don't want spoilers, avoid the sites that are likely to have them. And then enjoy the presentations for what they are. We are being sold something, but its something we choose to invest time in, so it's a lot more than just a glorified advert.

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