Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Where's Sakurai?

After some sober second thoughts, I stand by what I said about the leaks. If by some fluke they are real, I'll definitely mea culpa publicly, but I don't suspect that will be a problem.

The Spanish guy with the apparent leaked copy of B/W has spent the last couple of days "leaking" the new Pokedex order, which I won't link because he doesn't deserve the hits. But there's a couple of things that I want to know about the project:

1) How come anyone even remotely connected to Black and White hasn't signed an NDA that makes the Platinum guide look tiny?
2) Why don't they have the equivalent of a Smash Bros Dojo for the Pokemon series?

I suspect the answer to #1 is "they are, but someone is willing to break". So if I was in charge of the marketing, such as say, a community manager, I'd first remind everyone of the NDA and get them to sign off again. That should theoretically stop the leaks, especially if they're threatened by loss of face or (more likely) their job.

If not, and the leaks continue, it's time for a false flag operation.

I'd mock up a screenshot showing something that would cause the entire community to collectively cream - for the sake of example, a mock screenshot of Charizard with the types showing Fire/Dragon instead of Fire/Flying. After narrowing down who might be leaking, I'd provide them with the shot and give it 24 hours. If the shot comes out on 2ch, they're fired for violating the NDA. All you need is one horror story and the rest of the company will fall in line.

And yes, I have personal experience on this. I worked for a technology company that I'd prefer not to mention and was put in a Gray Powell position for several months. I never saw a leak, but that's probably because they threatened to sue us out of existence if we didn't stay in line.

So now that we've shot the leaker out of a metaphorical cannon, we need an official source for news. And the answer actually played out really well for Nintendo a couple of years ago in the form of the Smash Brothers Dojo.

The audience who would follow leaks would be the ones who would refresh the site every night at Japan Time, waiting for the things that were CONFIRMED FOR BRAWL~! and cursing the name of Masahiro Sakurai whenever something wasn't up to their standards. Hell, that's why the US Brawl site got so much heat when they included the phrase "Real men use items" in a random screenshot - Smashboards just about lost their minds.

The main thing is that it keeps the game in the news not just on your fansites, but you'll get a boatload of people submitting the updates to sites like Joystiq or Nintendo World Report, which means it'll get published if only to shut people up. That means more free marketing for you. And considering Nintendo went to the trouble of buying a 40 in Famitsu, a little free marketing is always worth it.

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