Leaks, leaks, and more leaks

Posted by Daeity On Sunday, February 13, 2011

I wonder if there are any websites out there that keep a running total of leaked games? (Well, major game releases anyways.)

Here are the big ones I can remember, including these 2 most recent ones:

Killzone 3 (PS3) - Feb 12, 2011
Crysis 2 (PC) - Feb 11, 2011
COD Black Ops (X360) - Oct 18, 2010
Halo: Reach (X360) - Aug 20, 2010
Halo 3 ODST (X360) - Aug 28, 2009
The Sims 3 (PC) - May 18, 2009
Spore (PC) - Aug 31, 2008
GTA IV (X360) - Apr 23, 2008
Halo 3 (X360) - Sep 21, 2007
GTA San Andreas (PS2) - Oct 20, 2004
Halo 2 (XBOX) - Oct 13, 2004
World of Warcraft (PC) - Jan 4, 2004
Gran Turismo 4 (PS2) - Nov 2, 2003
DOOM 3 (PC) - Nov 3, 2002
Half-Life 2 (PC) - Oct 2, 2003

Crytek is blaming pirates for the leak. Which is weird.. wasn't it leaked by an internal (possibly disgruntled) employee? Pirates can be blamed for spreading the game, but not for leaking it in the first place.

Did Blizzard blame piracy when a member of their senior management team leaked confidential subscriber data, financials, and product release slates? Even Carmack had it right when the DOOM 3 leak happened, he blamed ATI for the leak - not pirates.

Did you noticed something else about these leaked games by the way?

They went on to experience HUGE commercial success and awards. These were top selling games worldwide! Even after the GTA IV console version was leaked, it still went on to sell what.. over 19 million copies by now? Doom 3, GT4, The Sims, Half-life 2, Halo.. these are the best selling games in the world.

The only trend I see here is that leaked games go on to become hugely popular and financially successful games.

If the game is bad, though, you can just blame piracy for the bad sales. Right, Crytek?

Game leaks, and other forms of media, have been pretty common for decades actually. I'm sure some news sites may try to link the current popularity of Wikileaks to leaks like this.. "the reason for these leaks is because we live in a Wikileaks generation." Even though that has nothing to do with it.

Now that I'm thinking back, what other kind of stuff has been leaked? I remember the X-Men/Hulk/Harry Potter films being leaked.. DVD screeners, tons of TV series leaked months in advance. Haha.. ah yes, I remember when the pilot episode of Doctor Who was leaked back in 2005 and BBC spokeswoman Annie Frederick claimed that it wasn't a publicity stunt and that the leaked version was completely different from their final version - apparently, the leaked version was unfinished and an incomplete rough cut. After the "real" version came out, it was discovered that the only real difference between the two was the intro music. Good one Annie. Since viral marketing was all the rage back in '05, her claims led me to believe that it probably WAS a publicity stunt after all.

Anyways.. for other (real) internal leaks, it just goes to show that employers need to improve their hiring standards and screening processes, and once they get good employees, they need to treat them very well. There's nothing worse than a disgruntled employee, they'll end up costing you more than any possible revenue they could have made for you. (Things like weak performance, theft, sabotage, influencing other employees, complaining about your company and changing perceptions, creating hostile work environments, security issues, being a bottleneck, and vandalism tend to cost companies a lot of money.)


Here were some other games that leaked. If I find any others, I'll keep updating. (If you know of any, just leave a comment and I'll update/change dates too if I got one wrong.)

Assassin's Creed (PC) - Feb 24, 2008 (Ubisoft blamed the disc-replication firm Optical Experts Manufacturing for the leak.)
Fable 2 (X360) - Oct 16, 2008
Fallout 3 (X360) - Oct 8, 2008 (Bethesda blamed the press for leaking a review copy.)
Far Cry 2 (X360) - Oct 16, 2008
Manhunt 2 - Sep 7, 2007 (Sony Europe employee was blamed and later fired.)
Painkiller (PC) - Dec 31, 2003
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (PC) - Dec 30, 2003
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat (PC) - Sep 28, 2009
World of Warcraft Expansion Packs (Alpha TBC, WOTLK, CATA months before release.)

I think Manhunt 2 is proof alone that controversy and game-leaks can sell even bad games well. Manhunt 2 sold 500,000 more copies than they should have. =]

* UPDATE (02/18/2011):

Bulletstorm (X360) has apparently been "leaked", but in fact the street date was just broken by a retailer. So it's not really considered a leak, but it has been out for 4 days before retail.

* UPDATE (03/06/2011):

Homefront (PC) - Mar 6, 2011 (Kaos Studios indirectly blamed Steam)

* UPDATE (11/07/2011):

Battlefield 3 (PC) - Leaked Oct 16, Release Date: Oct 28
Gears of War 3 (XBOX360) - Leaked Jul 2, Release Date: Sep 20
Batman: Arkham City (XBOX360) - Leaked Oct 13, Release Date: Nov 21
RAGE (XBOX360 / PS3) - Leaked Sep 30, Release Date: Oct 4
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (X360 / PS3) - Leaked Aug 18, Release Date: Aug 23 (Retailer broke street date.)
Resistance 3 (PS3) - Leaked Aug 20, Release Date: Sep 6
The Witcher 2 (PC) - Leaked May 8, Release Date: May 17
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (X360) - Leaked Oct 25, Release Date: Nov 8
Mass Effect 3 (X360) - Leaked Nov 5 2011, Release Date: Mar 6, 2012 (Bioware blames MS XBOX Live "Human Error")