Last week, when I debuted the “Switch is Getting 2 Smash Bros. Games” rumor, Xkan from Kantopia (an amazing website that every SG fan should be aware of!) asked in the comments if I could do a post detailing why people would even leak or post rumors. This is an interesting question to me, as I’ve been on both sides of the debate. Previously, it was briefly discussed in the podcast I did with Liam Robertson (Interview here) and NintenDaan (podcast here). As I said in the podcast, it’s even a question I’ve asked other reporters. All in all, if you have been reading Source Gaming you know I have a lot of thoughts on it and welcome any chance to discuss it more!
First, let me explain what I’ve reported on. I’ve reported on data mining from the 3DS/Wii U version. This spoilered some content that was planned, and confirmed that some kind of DLC was coming. I even found evidence of 8 Player Smash before it was unveiled, but I didn’t realize at the time. However, this wasn’t the first time I spoilered content from Smash. After the demo was released, I translated a bunch of the in-game tips (not through and hacking or dumps, but from the game) which revealed some additional content to be true from the ERSB leak, and spoilered some assist trophies and Smash Run enemies. For earlier leaks, Source Gaming wasn’t really around.
Afterwards, I reported on Roy and Ryu’s files, which was largely found by ShinyQuaqsire. I merely contextualized his information and made it easier to understand. Shortly before Roy, Ryu and Lucas were actually released, RandomTalkingBush was able to access the update files and began publishing information from the update. Shortly after, Source Gaming actually published a lot of things that were ripped from the update, including all the trophy data, the new tips (which was the first to reveal Ryu’s unique input) and a lot more. However, shortly after publishing it I decided to go ahead and delete the post (one of the only posts to be deleted on SG, more on that in a second).
Later, we also reported on the “extra Mario slots” that were also found by ShinyQuaqsire. I also supported the idea that Shovel Knight would be in Smash after verifying the source behind it, in a post arrogantly titled, “What We Know About Shovel Knight in Smash”. I have led some Rumor Roundups (here’s the Smash related one) and have done some discussions on rumors and leaks on Source Gaming’s YouTube channel. Some of these rumors or leaks have been false, but at the time I thought they were true.
Now there has been several incidents where I decided NOT to leak or report on a rumor. Those usually follow into one of the following categories: it puts a source into unnecessary risk (the information is not widely known, and could be traced), I haven’t been able to verify any part of the rumor/ don’t believe it myself, or I think it could be a largely negative experience for the community. The last is something I haven’t really talked about until now.
After I reported on the data mining from the June update I was filled with intense regret. I felt bad that I ruined a surprise that honestly didn’t need to be ruined (especially as it was only a day or so until the update would’ve been published). In the end, it didn’t really matter, as crediar and some other people were able to make the DLC playable in their own systems and started live streaming gameplay (which then got shut down by Nintendo). I don’t think the leak really helped the community in the end as it was very close to release, and I know a lot of people were disappointed that the surprise was ruined. That stuck with me. I think RandomTalkingBush felt similarly as he privately shared with me a render of the full Geno costume before it’s reveal — something that some people found but mistakenly believed it was just a hat and not a full costume (proof here). Of course, I wouldn’t have leaked RTB’s findings because he asked me not to, but even if he didn’t I’m not sure I would have shared it as it was a similar situation to Roy, Ryu and Lucas’ update files.
With running a website, I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. If I completely ignore rumors and leaks then I risk losing an audience. Covering rumors and leaks is very lucrative for view numbers (and ad revenue, but SG doesn’t have any of that). At the same time, I’m against them if they aren’t plausible, are too risky, or if they ruin a surprise for the community. Since I do run Source Gaming, I hear a lot of rumors. There’s been plenty of rumors, and leaks that I’ve heard that I chose not to report on, or not fully reported on as I wasn’t 100% sure of the validity of the rumor myself.
In particular, with the “Switch is Getting 2 Smash Bros. Games” post, I decided to report on it for a couple of reasons. First, the information was already coming out. Tom Phillips hinted on Twitter that he was going to publish an article, this was after Liam Robertson stated that GameCube Virtual Console was coming on Twitter as well. I was researching the claims independently, and got some confirmations on some things that made me feel comfortable reporting on it. Second, I feel that Source Gaming should be the center of Smash development/speculation news. We’ve done the most work in the area and it’d feel a bit weird to let someone else announce it (if Nintendo was already not going to get that honor). Lastly, I wanted to clearly explain the pros and cons of each rumor and try to be the change that I want to see with rumor reporting. I felt that if I were to be responsible with the rumor reports, I needed to be first, as if I delayed it any further, in the end, it wouldn’t really matter. It’s not a decision I made lightly either — it’s something I’ve literally lost sleep over.
Anyway, I hope this train of thought article makes sense. Let me know how you feel in the comments below.