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Filed under: Super Smash Bros. Series

Why Do People Even Leak Anyway?


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.

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  1. i don’t ever recall a leak that got anyone in trouble outside the ESRB leak

    that guy got fired and jailed (as Liam claimed, but it’s realistic. can’t be an official while leaking trade secrets in the same time.)

    ZX XZ on December 16 |
  2. Thanks for writing the in-depth article on your perspective and personal experience with it all. It helps me better understand why you and some others may do it. I understood too of course that when it comes to Smash information it only made sense for you to do.

    It was pleasant to know that you thought about negative backlash, I know that controversy generates views too, so it was great that you at had some sort of standard regarding that. Of course potenitally harming your source would be bad, too. I wonder though, is it really that hard for a company to trace who did it for more widespread rumors? Well I suppose it is not that, but rather unwillingness to invest much in doing so… maybe they see no point.

    It’s great that you research and try to have basis to your claims too… as you know a lot of people (myself included) value SG due to thoroughness and reliability. I always fear that one rumor proved wrong will be a major shot to your overall credibility –even for non-rumor posts! It seems to be a tendency, the one bad, or one mistake, causes the rest of the good to be ignored. “Oh, SG, that one site that messed up ShovelKnight!” for instance, discrediting anything else you guys do is well, a little shallow, but people do it anyway… xD (I do like how you do not hide your mistake by any means, though, and keep it there as a way to show people the importance of research and credibility as well as how you can be wrong too, rather than bury it away into obscurity for others to dig up later)…

    I noticed a lot of yours are based on data-mines too, which are definitely more reliable in terms of data to back claims, rather than “I heard from a reliable source.”

    I appreciate the honesty behind feeling the need to post especially Smash bros information before others who may do it anyway. I feel others just jump to be the first, which this may count as, but the intentions I think are different…

    I would be curious to hear why others spread rumors too, as I’m sure everyone has a different story. Unfortunately not many are willing to really talk, being popular (or as unpopular) as they are. If you ever interview some more in the future, may be a fun thing to ask!

    Thanks a lot Push, the post certainly helped give a few ideas as to why some may do it. I wish as many were as thorough and kind as you are though! (That is the impression I get, anyway, I’m sure if I saw more “human” sides of leakers I’d have a more positive impression, even if I do not like what they do, for the most part).

    xkan on December 16 |