Jesse argues that how gamers conduct themselves is equally as important as how developers and publishers do, and a breach of trust from our side is just as bad as one from theirs.
After a five-year hiatus, a fan-favorite series, Left 4 Dead, is finally back. This is one of many long-awaited third installments from developer Valve Corporation that the gaming community has been waiting to see. For any fan of the Left 4 Dead series, this news couldn’t be more exciting.
Left 4 Dead is often regarded as one of the best cooperative first-person shooter experiences out there as well as one of the best video games involving zombies in general. However, as much as the reveal of a third title is exciting to fans, one cannot help but feel ashamed of the circumstances in which we learned of it in the first place. For those who may be unaware, Left 4 Dead 3 was leaked to the public sometime last week. While a good portion of the industry and community was skeptical at first, the news has been confirmed by numerous sources. Left 4 Dead 3 is in the works.
What is it about this reveal that would make someone feel so ashamed for the gaming community? It has to do with the way we obtained this information. A few players of Dota 2, another successful title from Valve, were lucky enough to tour the development studio’s facilities. During this time, they took snapshots of various computer monitors. It was on one of these monitors that they spotted the existence of Left 4 Dead 3 and subsequently leaked it to the public.
I don’t know if this was the intention of those on the tour or even if Valve gave them permission to take pictures without realizing the possible consequences, but I still can’t help but frown upon this situation. These Dota 2 players — not gaming journalists, not industry executives, simply fans — were given the privilege of a private tour from Valve, something that the company by no means ever needed to do but chose to as a service to its loyal fans and customers. I cannot help but feel as though this privilege was taken advantage of and maybe even abused. A note to the fans: This was a privilege, not an opportunity.
Above: The telltale snapshot that revealed L4D3’s existence. Evidence can be seen on third line down.
Now, this would not be the first time information about a video game has been leaked to the public before the developers had intended. However, this doesn’t make it any less irresponsible. Maybe this is an overreaction, and yes, as a fan of Left 4 Dead, I’m excited to finally get my hands on another iteration of the series. Still, I feel as though there’s an issue of trust here. Valve trusted its fans, and they abused that trust with sneaky and shady behavior that resulted in a disadvantage for the company.
What would I say to the fans who facilitated this leak? On one hand, I would have to thank them for the good news. Like I said, we’ve been waiting a long time for a third game. Not to mention Valve has a reputation of keeping its activities tightly under wraps. On the other hand, I’d have to tell them what a cheap and low act this was. Most people know the gaming industry is not without its shady practices. Instances such as these are to be expected at times. However, it’s the industry itself that we expect this from, not the fans.
The gaming industry has already shown to an extent that it does not take its customer base seriously. Please, gamers, do not give them a reason not to trust us. If we’re going to call out the industry on its mistakes, then we need to show that we’re aware of what honest practices are.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase your ticket now to save $200!