With the amount of NX and E3 rumors buzzing around on the Internet, I wanted to chime in and inject a healthy dose of objectivism into the Internet’s arm. Just because someone has had some information correct in the past does not guarantee accuracy. With video game journalism, there is sometimes a severe lack of fact checking and research; but this is at its’ height when reporting on rumors and leaks. Let me explain.
Quick warning: You should always read what someone has actually said. Often times, rumors are misrepresented or simplified on news sites. Sometimes quotes are taken out of context, and going back to the source is the quickest way to determine just how big — or minor the rumor actually is.
The first and most obvious reason why people in the know might not actually know is because they are lying. They could be lying to get attention, they could be lying for a personal agenda. The optimist in me doesn’t think people would just lie for attention or for trolling, but it happens (People on the Internet? Lying? No!). But let’s not assume the worst, and explore other reasons why they might not know.
Even if the information is false I wouldn’t discount other possible explanations for why the informant is wrong. Another reason, is that their source misled them, or assumed information to be true without verifying it themselves. It’s a lot like high school. Someone thinks they saw you kiss the cheerleader, and now the whole school believes that you made out with the hottest babe in school…when in reality you were just practicing your tongue skills with a mop.
Joking aside, people can just fill in the information themselves and led themselves down the wrong path. Maybe a developer heard that the NX had weaker hardware than the PS4, but wasn’t aware of the potential increased performance through other advancements. Therefore, a statement that the NX is weaker than the PS4 would make sense, but it might not be correct (again– hypothetically).
Something that often gets disregarded is people not thinking about what kind of information their informant would have. Big companies don’t have all their information laid out for all their employees, and there is usually some sort of structure and hierarchy of information. (A cashier at McDonalds wouldn’t know when the McRib is coming back. Stop asking them!) Therefore, a developer may be unsure of when the release of another team’s game is. They may have heard it, but then it just becomes hearsay.
The source having malicious intent is another reason. Not everyone is just willing to tell trade secrets. There has to be some motivation to spill the beans. Having a long standing relationship with the source would probably guarantee more accuracy, but as an outsider we wouldn’t know that. There’s also the possibility of someone leaking false information in order to gain some advantage. Internal company politics is a thing, and something that us outsiders aren’t privy to. Sometimes a company might want to test a product idea by “leaking” it and then seeing the public’s reaction. Or a company might want to spread false leaks in order to confuse and distract from the real information.
Lastly, just because someone has been proven in the past does not mean they are currently proven. The source’s employment status may have changed, or if it’s not tied directly to the original source (hearsay) and then it becomes a different, unproven source.
So yeah…those are some reasons why having a source does not guarantee accuracy. Check out my Introduction to Leak Busting for more information.