When it comes to certain games, the hype is real. People get so excited about every single update or AAA title, they can't help but crack into game files or other data to determine as much as they can about the future before it happens. While this can lead to some regretable things, like widespread piracy of certain games, there are many instances where these leaks aren't so bad. In fact, information leaks might be making the experience better for people who love these games.
Of course, this happens on a case-by-case basis. We can't go and say all leaks are okay. That would be a rather blatant lie. However, in the case of Overwatch, Pokemon Sun and Moon, Super Smash Bros, and Final Fantasy XV, data mining and leaks from hackers might have made things better for all of us.
Let's start with Super Smash Bros, which is the oldest of the four. Ahead of launch, the game was rife with information leaks. Nintendo likes to trickle feed us information on games, and people made sure we knew more about the fourth Super Smash Bros game before launch as a result. It's because of industrious individuals that we knew about Ω battlefields, new playable characters like Shulk, Dr. Mario, Dark Pit, Bowser Jr., and Duck Hunt Dog, and saw data that noted Ryu and Roy would be coming as DLC. All of this information served to get people more excited. Was it spoilers? Sure. But it probably helped some people decide to buy the game.
This also applies to Pokemon Sun and Moon. Again, Nintendo was letting information slowly slip out. That is, until early copies appeared in the wild. While piracy is wrong and people who engaged in it were properly punished, the leaks that came from these early copies helped make the lead up to release even more exciting. We had all sorts of details on Ultra Beasts and how they factored into the story. We learned more about Island Trials, Kahunas, and Captains. All sorts of new Pokemon details were revealed, allowing us to start planning teams. It built all sorts of hype, perhaps moreso than the official streams of information.
Speaking of hype, each one of Overwatch's events has been a great means of getting people excited about playing the game again. Except this wave of enthusiasm has been coming ahead of official announcements. Instead, data miners are finding information within game updates that alludes to new events. The audio files foretold Summer Games, Halloween, and now even a Christmas event ahead of Blizzard's official notification. Even though none of these have offered more of a heads-up than "this is probably coming," each leak has been welcomed and built a ton of excitement.
And now, we have Final Fantasy XV. As the newest game to suffer from leaks, due to stores breaking street dates and information that slipped out earlier this year, the information coming in has been mixed. We've been forwarned about the game getting more linear near the end. We've also found out about certain plot twists. While this may be building hype in the same way the Super Smash Bros., Pokemon Sun and Moon, and Overwatch plot leaks did, it might be serving an even more important purpose. These leaks might be helping people decide whether or not to purchase the game. They have a chance to get excited or spoiled, both of which can influence purchasing decisions.
Everyone is going to have their own opinions on leaks, and the methods that lead to such leaks aren't always great. But, leaks serve a rather vital purpose. They help build excitement for games. They tell us things the developers are withholding so we don't have to beat around the bush and can bluntly find out exactly what we want to know. They may even help us decide if we should get a game. Leaks can really make our games better.