How do major game studios suffer leaks?

How do major game studios suffer leaks?

Stumbling upon new information about a game that isn’t out yet or upcoming features can be really exciting. There are entire communities built around game leaks.

But how do these game leaks happen with big game studios? You would assume that these larger companies have many strategies to keep content secret. Read on to find out.

What are game leaks?

Man holding a metal box

Video game leaks involve any information about a game that is revealed before the date intended by the game studio. This could include an announcement for new features, a release on different systems, a price cut, new characters, and even the game itself.

While this is to be expected for indie titles, which usually have a smaller team of developers and fewer resources to stop hackers and bad actors, it comes as a shock when a major game studio suffers from some leaks.

Keeping information safe is difficult, given the wide variety of ways game leaks can take place. Prevention is also a big deal, as video game leaks can permanently damage game releases. In many cases, the leak within the games company comes from a disgruntled or frustrated developer or employee. This is usually the result of disagreements, crunches or frustrations with the direction of the game.

Other methods involve hackers or bad actors finding ways to avoid data loss and technical issues like phishing and cookies, with GTA 6 leaks being an excellent example of the latter.

The most common game leaks usually involve story decisions and direction, upcoming features, and release dates for various aspects of a game or the game itself.

Intentional game leaks: Frustrated staff

Person using laptop holds head in frustration

One of the easiest ways game leaks occur is via frustrated or disgruntled employees. This can include employees from middle managers, developers and almost everyone from the various departments in a company. In many cases, it is developers who decide to leak game content.

A common theme for developers leaking game content involves “heavy crunch”, where the team works longer hours with proportionately less compensation. Releasing game information before the intended release is seen as a way to get back at the company for poor management decisions. Whether justified or not, this seems to be the most common example of intentional game leaks.

Bad actors and hackers

Man holding a laptop that says you have been hacked

Another way gaming news reaches public spaces before it should is via bad actors and hackers. There are well-known examples of hackers obtaining and sharing game content, including the Rockstar Games hack, as reported by Bleeping Computer, and someone accessing and sharing key plot details for The Last of Us 2, a title from Naughty Dog.

At first it was believed that the leak came from a disgruntled Naughty Dog employee who was frustrated with their pay. It was later confirmed that hackers came across a vulnerability in an older Naughty Dog game and gained direct access to the servers.

Any information shared using this method is done by third parties who access the content without permission. It appears that this is often done by remotely accessing a game studio’s servers and copying it to a separate system – it’s reportedly rare for a bad actor to visit a game studio to copy its content to a portable drive.

Random game leaks

Person preparing to post on social media on phone

Accidental leaks may seem silly on the surface, but they’re still damaging to a game studio’s reputation. These leaks can come from an employee unknowingly tweeting or posting game content without realizing it.

You can also catch developers slipping and sharing confidential information in an interview. But there are even examples involving accidents in the production and distribution of goods.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, for example, saw some of the items appear online before the game’s announcement. While Ubisoft declined to comment on the image, it appears to be from an employee involved in the production of the merchandise.

Game leaks: worth ignoring

So game leaks can come from disgruntled employees, skilled hackers, and even accidentally from staff on the team, whether on social media or in interviews.

Either way, it’s probably worth it to avoid looking at game leaks. They can ruin your experience when you finally get your hands on the content.

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